Zone 8 winter sowers?

Jacumba, CA(Zone 8b)

I'm going to try winter sowing for the first time this year and was wondering if we do it any different in the warmer zones? Do you plant around the winter solstice? It seems like a lot of the posts are from people in colder climates so please let me know if you do anything different.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

I'm in zone 8a, in Southwest Georgia. December was warmer than usual so I began winter sowing in January. Sitting my containers under the shade of a large pine tree worked out just fine.


Jacumba, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the response, Deborah. Do your containers get any sun at all? I was planning on placing mine in a protected area that gets about 5 hours of full sun.
Anyone else in the warmer climates?

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Mine couldn't get full sun at all sitting under this particular tree; then, they only got some filtered sun for a few hours a day. Because I have now made a Hosta shade garden around this big ol' tree, I'm wintersowing under a small oak tree this winter. In this new spot, the containers will get about 4 hours of partial sun. Depending on the rain (or lack of) I'll probably need to water the containers more often when it gets closer to spring time, especially when I start to vent the containers open.

Kalama, WA(Zone 8b)

I'm in zone 8. I normally start my winter sowing in Jan. and I'm often still putting things out through Feb. But that's mostly because I'm too busy with other things in Dec. Mine are in an area that gets mostly full sun.


Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)

Hi Karri Sue,

I am in Zone 9 and start winter sowing mid-January, which is when we usually get our coldest weather. I start with hardy perennials and shrubs, which often require a chilling period to germinate, so that I can get them out in time to take advantage of our short winter. In mid to late February, I start sowing annuals, tender perennials, tomatoes and peppers, and continue on into April.

Jacumba, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for all the info! I am so looking forward to doing this and hoping I have good results.

Birmingham, AL(Zone 7b)

Thanks for this tread. I am 7b cusp of 8a. I had no idea when or what to attempt to winter sow. I am glad to know that I can start annuals outside later on in the season. I thought I was going to be doing this all inside and DH would kill me. lol.

Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)

Oh yes, you can absolutely do them outdoors later in the season! The secret, if the weather has warmed up, is to keep them in a shady spot and watch that they don't dry out. To get you going, here are the successful annuals/perennials treated as annuals that I started February through April:

Nicotiana langsdorfii - 2/5/2007 (perennial usually treated as annual.)
Scabiosa atropurpurea - 2/7/2007 (perennial usually treated as annual.)
Commelina communis, 'Dayflower' - 2/21/2007
Nasturtium 'Salmon Baby' - 2/21/2007
Lobelia 'Mrs Clibran' - 2/21/2007
Nasturtium 'Apricot Trifle' - 2/21/2007
Calendula arvensis 'Field Marigold' - 2/25/2007
Ageratum 'Blue Mink' - 2/26/2007
Salpliglossis 'Chocolate Royale' - 2/26/2007
Nicotiana 'Hot Chocolate' - 3/1/2007
Tomato 'Japanese Trifele Black' - 3/8/2007
Tomato 'Golden Delight' - 3/8/2007
Tomato 'Juan Flamme' - 3/8/2007
Capsicum 'Santa Fe Grande' - 4/25/2007
Capsicum 'Peter Pepper' - 4/29/2007

Just be aware that you will get flowers/fruit later in the season than you would from nursery plants or plants started indoors; but hey, it's great to have flowers in the late summer and early fall when everyone else's gardens are pooping out!

This message was edited Dec 3, 2007 9:34 AM

Jacumba, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the list, Susan, very helpful!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Now I'm confused. I thought the goal of winter sowing now was to get flowers EARLIER in the Springtime. I'm in Zone 9a, Houston, and our average high temps now are in the mid-60s with nighttime lows in the mid 40s to low 50s. I'm thinking if I sow seeds now, I could plant out in mid-March (our last frost date will be March 22nd).

Please advise. Thanks.

Also, I'd like to sow firecracker Marigolds, coneflowers, and some Sunflowers. Please advise.

Auburn, MA(Zone 5b)

Gymgirl, you won't get earlier flowers with winter sowing, but you will get hardier and healthier plants. They'll start out small, but they'll catch up real fast and bloom for a longer time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than buying as many plants as you'll get from winter sowing. :)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

ooooooooooooooooohhh. Thanks for the clarification! Yes, $$$ for color in the Spring garden is a concern right now, which is why I want to sow seeds rather than have to buy plants.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

hopefully I can do this right. Here's the link to my winter sewn journel for '07...I hope.


edited to correct my crumby spelling

This message was edited Dec 12, 2007 10:28 AM

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Try again, please! That link was to an empty journal...

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

It opens for me. Look at the box to the right next to this forum that says "Communities",click on "Journals" fid "bigred" and you probably won't have any trouble veiwing it from there.


Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Gymgirl: I've never lived in zone 8, so I'm speaking in general terms here. Another factoid about wintersowing comes into play. In my zone 6 I find I can WS hardy perennials in winter with no problem. Many perennials need that cold stratification. If we get a warm spell and seeds germinate in winter, subsequent frost/freeze generally won't hurt them in their milk jug environment.

Tender things like zinnias are another story. Remember, temps inside the jugs are higher than the outside temps so the seeds can be fooled into germinating too early in a warm weather spell, then perish in the inevitable return to freezing temps. For that reason I don't sow the tenders like zinnias until March or April when it's going to stay more reliably warm. They'll germinate pretty fast then and probably be relatively safe from freezing. If a late frost does come along you can just throw a blanket over them overnight.

Your actual timing will be a little different from mine in zone 6 but you might want to hold off on the tenders until your temps are reliably warmer and hard freeze unlikely. Works like a charm for me. This will be my 3rd year WSing.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks Karen!

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.