Starting Flower Seeds

This year I’m starting seeds indoors for the garden. I got a wide variety of perennials and annuals for sun and shade. I’ve only grown plants from seeds a couple times, so I’m eager to see what happens with so many different varieties.

After researching the plants and reviewing the seed starting instructions, I decided to use 3 methods. Some I will direct sow in the ground after the last frost date, which is April 6 here in the Seattle area. Some of the plants require cold stratification, and the rest I planted in small flats indoors.

Cold Stratification

Let’s start with cold stratification, which is new to me. I learned this is common for perennials. The Coral Bells (heuchera) and Foam Flowers (tiarella) will get this treatment.

  • Coral Bells – mix
  • Foam Flower – Sugar Scoop
  • Foam Flower – Heartleaf

Cold stratification mimics the natural fluctuations in temperature that perennials experience outdoors by placing the seeds in a moist cool environment, such as a refrigerator, for 4 to 6 weeks. I sprinkled the seeds on a wet paper towel and placed them in ziplock bags in the refrigerator. Supposedly this is enough moisture and oxygen for the seeds to germinate. When they germinate, I can transfer the seeds to flats.

Sow Indoors

I sowed the majority of the seeds indoors to get a jump start before the last frost. Here is a list of the seeds I planted in small flats indoors.

  • Columbine—Red Clementine
  • Columbine—Nora Barlow
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Zinnia—mix of colors
  • Lychnis Alba
  • Strawflower—dwarf variety with a mix of colors
  • Bachelor’s Button—mix of colors
  • St John’s Wort—pink variety

Here are a few shots of my kitchen production line and the planted flats in the window.

Direct Sow Outside

I’ll sow the rest of the seeds outdoors in a few weeks, after the risk of frost passes.

  • Shirley poppies
  • Amphora poppy
  • Euphorbia marginata
  • Ox eye daisy
  • Jupiter’s beard

The next step is to watch for sprouts in the next two or three weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

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