The Q&A Archives: sweet william

Question: i am growing sweet william for the first time. i planted the seeds last year and did not have any flowers. this year the bloom are glorious. i have done some reading on their care and i want to save the seed for replanting. will the existing plants rebloom any more this year?next year will i have to plant new seeds? can i gather the spent flower heads and will i have seeds in the heads? i also want to have more sweet william in other parts of my yard. do they have to be started from seed or can i transplant some of the existing plants? will i get flowers on the transplanted ones? thanks

Answer: This is a biennial. It will self seed if you leave the flowers on the plant. The flowers will fade and dry up, and seeds will form. They will naturally drop off the plant and plant themselves.

Some of the fallen seeds may germinate this fall, some will germinate next spring. Seedlings that appear this fall will bloom next spring. Seedlings that begin growing next spring will bloom the following year. This way, the patch reseeds itself on an ongoing basis.

If you want to save seed, wait until the seeds are ripe and about to drop on their own. At that time you can scatter them in the area where you want more plants, or you can save them to start as you did the first time.

Your other option is to transplant some of the new seedlings that grow in the garden. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to start a new patch of sweet Williams. There is no point to transplanting the existing plants -- they will die out soon now that they have bloomed.

Enjoy your flowers!

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