The Q&A Archives: Long Blooming Spring Perennials

Question: Could you suggest spring perennials that are long blooming that can be grown easily from seed? Can you inform me as to how long I can expect these flowers to bloom? Ideally, I'd like to cover the period from late March/April through the month of June. When should I plant these seeds? Can I start them in the fall or wait until late winter/early spring? Will they bloom the first year? Can I start them in peat pots? I live in suburban Philadelphia, PA. I believe our zone is 6/7. Thank you for your advice.

Answer: Most perennials require two years to reach blooming size whether started in early spring or during the summer. Many of them have special germination requirements such as needing a cold moist stratification period prior to planting or needing a specific soil temperature range, so it can be a bit more challenging than growing annuals from seed. Many can be startd indoors in small containers, but they can also be started directly in the ground. Many gardeners will use a nursery bed area for the seedlings and the young plants since they do take some time to gain enough size to make any impact int he garden. Spring blooming perennials to consider starting from seed would be columbine, foxglove (actually a biennial), dianthus and violas, although these last may perform more like annuals for you than perennials.

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