How do you all start your seeds (Blanket flower, etc.)

Mesilla Park, NM

I tried fall sowing and lost most of my seed, so I thought of trying to start all of my drought tolerant seeds in flats. The poppies seem to do alright and flourish, but the Galliardia Goblin, Coneflower, clasping cone flower, etc.. seems to just disappear. Rudbeckia has been coming back, and the Maximillani also.

How do you all get your plants started from seeds?

Heerlen, Netherlands(Zone 8b)

Hi think they 've disappeared from rain or sun ? I use winter sowing also and some seeds just need a lot of time to germinate...soooo...maybe it's best to wait. It also is possible that, if you did 'nt use any protection, the birds got away with the seeds. I cover my seeds with some fine chicken wire or a lid with some holes in it (to get rain through). A transparent lid is practical I gives protection against the cold and birds, but also can keep the soil more moist if that can be a problem. You can also use a top layer of vermiculite to storage moist for the seeds. I think seedlings should be hardened off not only against cold but also to dry conditions. They need attention and regular watering until they are settled. I water them sparely after they've settled a bit, just enough to keep them alive, because I want them to root deeper seeking for moist themselves. So that's how I'm doing this. What soil did you use for your sowings?
Oh I 've forgotten...spring can be wet do 'nt forget the snails...they just love seedlings...hmmm.

Lenexa, KS(Zone 6a)

Gourd--I plan to start Gaillardia 'Goblin' from seeds collected from my plants last fall. I'll let you know how it goes. Will start them indoors here in Z5 in flats under grow lights and put out after my frost date (late April). I'll let you know how it turns out. I did scatter seed in fall and let a lot self-seed but I haven't been out in that bed to see if anything is up yet this Spring. It could be that Gaillardia needs cold treatment (in the PDB some varieties mention it). Does your winter get cold enough to provide this naturally? If not you might need to chill the seeds. Brenda

Mesilla Park, NM

We do get the chill we need, we get freezes about 4/5 times a year, not in a row, maybe twice in one month or three times in Dec, then some more in Jan.

We do have thousands of birds. I tried on about 1/4 acre to get a little field going, but nothing came up. I am wanting to get them started in flats now and just wondered how you all did it. The first time I tried was three years ago, two years ago, and I skipped this past fall because I was just wasting seeds. Maybe if I get them established first, then start to transplant some out there a little at a time it will work. That area gets almost no rain (only rain we get is now in Feb/Mar) the rest of the year is desert dry. I did water faithfully the first time I tried, the second time I may not have watered enough.

Heerlen, Netherlands(Zone 8b)

So you may not have watered them enough ? What I also do with seedlings that I've just planted them out....I give them a cover against the afternoon sun. It 's burning like hell for those little ones and not all of them can withstand this in this stage. I cover them with an old bed sheet or papers. When they are mature they don't need this anymore. An other thing is that when you sow your seeds in flats you'll have more controll on them against all these conditions. I 've sown seeds in rows in the garden in fall also before...a whole package and got only 4 or 5 seedlings to grow on. So a big loss by that way too.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

I planted three small blanketflower plants in fall of 2002. Only one is still alive and it is struggling. They don't seem to be drought-tolerant at all.

Lenexa, KS(Zone 6a)

Kelli---I know most everything I read from mail order companies says that a plant must be well-watered until established. Generally, they say stuff like "drought tolerant once established".

I planted 5 last year and they did "ok". All flowered and I did collect seed which I've started seedlings from this Spring. I'm hoping they take off this year. What I've heard a lot on DG is.....1st year sleep, 2nd year creep, 3rd year leap to describe a perennial's growth rate/flowering its first 3 years.


Mesilla Park, NM

I know this is an old post, but, since this thread, we moved to NM, and I started two flats of seeds a couple of weeks ago with coneflowers both (mexican hat one solid yellow and the two toned red and yellow) they are doing well, on heatmats, domes, and lights.. it took about 1 week for most of the seeds to germinate, the yellow ones were real old seeds and they took the longest to germinate.

Now, I've got alot of Echinacea, rudbeckia, and maybe some milkweed seeds that I'm going to try the same way.. How are your guys plants doing, hopefully everyone is still here.

All the colombine and poppy seeds were direct sown a couple of months ago and some are coming up, I think they are the colombine, I usually can recognize the CA poppies, unless I put others in there and dont' remember, which is very possible. (I do that sometimes)...


Mesilla Park, NM

The Echinacea, Salvias, and Rudbeckias (four types) also germinated on the heatmats. I am very excited to know that there will be enough of these plants to place around the property in case they don't all get established by next fall. Hopefully they will grow into healthy plants.

Sumter, SC(Zone 8a)

Gourd...your mexican hats sound awesome! I am currently trading in one of my front beds for a xeri bed...LOL I hauled in soil to create a 2' raised bed so that way when it does rain, based on the slope I created, the water will run off into my trumpet lily, iris's and canna bed...I am looking for ways to stop torturing my well :)

I transplanted an ilex, 6 yuccas, 6 salvias, liatris and 3 tritomas thus far today, I still have quite a bit more to go ( other areas of the yard that I am condensing - they contain more salvia, lavender, Echinacea)this makes it a tad easier on the wallet. I have started gallardia, mondarda, sea holly, centaurea montana, cosmos, amaranthus and zinnia seeds to add to the bed after frost.

If you can think of any other things that might be useful please chime in... :o)

Mesilla Park, NM

Hi rednyr,

You know those plants sound great. I tried liatris in CA and had terrible luck with that, I don't know why. We were in the low desert and it was HOT... we got to 117 sometimes for a couple of weeks in a row and it pretty much did all the tropicals in. So, then I went to and now natives or drought tolerant plants. Getting too tired of watering too.

Yesterday I noticed that the gaillardia is coming back and lots of other seeds germinating. The plants in the flats are still growing and they are doing great.. if you can find fish emulsion or some type of kelp (either powder or liquid-- which is a sea weed) that is what I've been using in a very weak solution to feed the seedlings thru bottom watering.

You cannot go wrong with sowing them in flats, you get lots more plants and cheap, cheap,

If you can, use alot of pepples gravel in the xeri bed as mulch and for drainage and alot less weeds too, we found something here called crusherfine gravel, which looks like it might be the crushed gravel mixed with sand. That works really good for xeri gardens.

As far as plants, you may want to take a look at your native xeri plants, those would have better survival rates, and see if you can find seeds instead of plants to fill the beds. Yesterday, I scattered the rest of the seeds in one of the beds, I wish I had known and would have saved you some. This fall I should have quite a bit of seeds hopefully, this is our first year here at this location. Also, I ordered several seeds from a wild seed farm and will list some for you see if you want some. I did order 1/2 ounce of I just cannot remember what right now.

Sumter, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks so much for all your input...I did add 8 bags of fine bark chips (the soil conditioner they sell at compost heap is not yet ready) and 6 bags of mushroom compost along with some spaghum to help with the drainage...I should have thought of some pebbles...I do have 1/2 the bed left to do so I will add some to that end :)

Mesilla Park, NM

There is one thing I forgot to mention, have you heard of watersorb crystals?

I ordered 15 lbs, I'm hoping to mix some into the soil and hopefully these newer plants will be able to get established before winter comes... I thought these water crystals would help in that there is less watering, and less loss of new plants. Check it out, I think she is still taking orders, I just got my box today.

This will be the first time I try it, I missed the last co-op last year. Maybe we can take a few days

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