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when to plant seeds of native wildflowers

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

I recently moved back home to Lafayette, IN. I had been living for the past 43 years, in south Florida. I have lived in my home in Lafayette for one year. This summer I planted a Joe Pye weed. Its flowers are butterfly and bee magnets!! I would like to grow some more of them. My plant is setting seeds now. Should I plant the seeds this fall or should I wait until next spring to plant them?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Greetings, amy, I use several different approaches when I sow wildflower seeds.

First of all I'm a lazy gardener, so I am prone to let the seed heads dry on my Joe Pye Weed, then I try to separate the seeds from the stems, and then late in the fall (before the ground freezes) I rough up a patch of dirt where I want them to grow, sprinkle the seeds around and barely cover very lightly with fine garden soil, and let Mother Nature do the rest. But be sure to mark the space so you know you planted there.

The second way I grow perennial wild flower seeds is collect the seeds and dry them, then early in the new year I set up my Winter Sowing project. There is a nice thread on Dave's Garden that explains Winter Sowing. You might have fun with this: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/148/

The third way, and this is for pretty patient and attentive gardeners, is germinating using the 'paper towel' method (which you can google for if you are not familiar with it.). Since Joe Pye typically requires cold moist stratification, you will have to keep your 'wet paper towel bag of seed' in the fridge for a while--30 to 60 days perhaps..

Lastly, I was successful in growing more Joe Pye in my garden by dividing the plants that I bought at the nursery. If your plant is big enough, you could try this next spring.

Here is a link to Prairie Moon Nursery's site--you can read about the seed 'germination code' in the lower right of the page. Click on the C(30).

Just a few ideas. Good luck with you new garden. T.

Lafayette, IN(Zone 5a)

Thanks, T!

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