Propagation from seed:
Most people are fully aware of this method as it is no secrete that flowers grow from
seeds. What most people don't realize is the many different factors that determine
germination success and failure. Things to keep in mind when growing perennials from seed
Different varieties require different soil temperatures
Some varieties need light to germinate
Some will require a pre-chilling or some type of stratification
Soil must not be allowed to dry our not become to wet
As a general rule most perennial seed will germinate with a soil
temperature between 60 - 70F. We do not recommend that you use any type of bottom
heat as many times this just cooks the seed. Most perennials will develop into
stronger seedlings if they are allowed to grow slowly at temperatures of about 50 - 60F.
Many perennials can be direct sown right into the garden in early spring and late
summer (end of Aug here in Zone 6) but you will have much better germination success
if you start them indoors and control some of the environmental factors. Some
perennials require a cold treatment to break dormancy (you need to trick the seed into
thinking it went through a winter). This is accomplished by either placing the seed
in the refrigerator or freezer depending the degree of coldness the seed needs to be
exposed to. When growing seed indoors it always important that you use a high
quality soilless mix. Do not use garden soil as it is full of bacteria and fungi that will
usually destroy your seedlings. Provide bright ample light to keep the
seedlings from stretching. Once the first set of true leaves appear we recommend
that you use fish emulsion mixed with water at 1/4 the rate the label suggest.
Before you transplant your seedlings to the garden you need to harden them off - do this
by gradually getting them used to being outside. Move them outside for about an hour
or two the first couple of days and then gradually leave them out a little longer. In
about a week they should be hardened off and can be safely transplanted to the garden.
Propagation by Division:
Division is such an important aspect of perennial gardening we have devoted a separate
page for it. To learn more on division visit our Pruning and Dividing Perennials page.
Propagate perennials from cuttings:
Another very effective way to
propagate perennials is by rooting a stem cutting. We propagate over half of the plants we
sell from cuttings. The steps involve are simple to master.