newbie and WSing ornamental grass

Alexandria, IN(Zone 5a)

I have several types of ornamental grass that call for refrigeration. They should be great for winter sowing. But I can't find when to actually start winter sowing them. Should I do them in Jan, Feb, March...... I am just confused!

black fountain grass
little blue stem
switch grass
pony tails
prairie dropseed (doesn't say to refrigerate)

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Ornamental grasses are excellent for winter sowing! Some might act as perennials in your growing zone and others may be annuals. I would start the perennial grasses in January, thereby giving them plenty of time to germinate & grow. With the prarie dropseed, I would wait until March, if the packet says that it doesn't need the cold. Here's a link to tell you more about this grass.

Here is some information that might help you on winter sowing ornamental grasses! Good luck and please let us know how they grow for you.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 5a)


Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards starting in January. I looked at and came up with the idea of doing the grasses. Yet, most of the lists just say that yes it was winter sown and germinated, but no month of start. Thanks for the other link. I will be sure to check it out.

This message was edited Dec 30, 2007 10:03 PM

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

Hey cabrlamo.

Our locations are close, so hopefully this will help you. I started my zebra grass last year on Jan. 25, and my switch grass on March 3. (No particular reason, that's just when I got around to it.) They both germinated late, but with no problem. Unfortunately I lost the switch grass because I didn't get it planted out in time, but the zebra grass grew several inches over the course of the summer and I'm anxious to see how big it gets this year.

Good luck,

Alexandria, IN(Zone 5a)

Thanks La.

I need to get my containers ready. I went out and splurged on some clear plastic storage containers. For $4.50 a piece on sale, I thought it was a decent deal. I can put in lots of stuff and have a good lid. I will get the depth I need and the same translucence as the milk jugs. I think I will start in January, but also leave a bit to start in the house as a precaution. Any other words of wisdom?


Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Carrie~ you'll be happy you W/S'ed. Any failures , might only be a few, you can improve the odds next year. I highly reccomend a gardening diary so you enter your dates and seeds W/S'ed and when they germinated as well as flowered. That way you can experiment around with the dates and variables for the next year and compare results. Just my little red cent. But do share the results with your grasses, they sound like pretty choices for the gardens. BTW, this is my 2nd year W/Sing.

Edited for goofy sentence. ;0)

This message was edited Jan 1, 2008 3:48 PM

Alexandria, IN(Zone 5a)

That is a good idea. I am keeping a log on an excel spreadsheet of all of my seeds, where they will be planted, and when I need to start or WS them.

Has any one tried russian sage? I have two very small year old plants in the yard, but they are too small to divide.


Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Carrie: It is a good idea to hold back a few seeds "just in case". One never knows if & when they will come in handy. You can sow them indoors if you have the space, light set up, time to water, etc, etc.

The reason that you won't find a date of when seeds were sown is that it will vary from zone to zone, as well as, when the person had the time to sow them. It's too big of a variable! You winter sow when the time is best for YOU! That's one of benefits of winter sowing!!!

Keeping a log on Excel or any other software program is an excellent idea!!! You can add information as time goes on. You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like! Plus, all the information you input will come in handy when deciding what to winter sow again in '09. Both successes and failures are important to keep track of and learn from.

I never winter sowed Russian Sage, but I don't see any reason why one couldn't. My Russian Sage is a large shrub and has been in my garden for years. In fact, I need to dig if up in the Spring, divide it and relocate it to another section of my garden. It's blocking some of my other plants and needs to be re-planted closer to the fence, so it is behind some of my shorter flowers.

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