The Q&A Archives: First Year Blooms

Question: Will the following plants bloom from seed the first year: Torch Lily; Toad lily; Cardoon; Achillea; Aster; Baby sun Everlasting (Helipterum humboltianum); Phlox and Acrolinium. The seeds were sown indoors the last week of February and I live in zone 6?

Answer: Most perennials will not bloom the first year from seed. For this reason they are often started in summer and planted out in a nursery bed until they have some size and blooming capacity. Torchlily (Kniphofia) and Toad Lily (Tricyrtis) may take several years to reach blooming size. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) might possibly bloom the first year if started early enough, but it is grown as much for its ornamental foliage as for its flowers. Note too that it is not reliably hardy in zone 6. Achillea, aster and phlox are available in both perennial and annual varieties. The annuals of course should bloom this year. The helipterum is an annual; helipterum and acrolinium are generally considered synonymous.

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