The Q&A Archives: Growing Delphinium From Seed

Question: I'm growing delphinium from seeds in a covered plastic seed growing tray. It's been about one and a half weeks and they still haven't sprouted (my hollyhocks have!) Anyway some people say that I shouldn't have delphinium under the lightsuntil they sprout and others claim I should have put them in the refrigerator for four weeks first. Questions abound...

Answer: Be a bit more patient; it may take a few more days. Delphinium can take 15 days or more to sprout. Delphinium do need darkness to germinate. If you covered the seed well, that may be enough--but you might take them out from under the lights anyway, and cover the tray with a layer of moist newspaper. Just be sure to check daily, and place under lights as soon as you see the shoots. There is no chilling requirement noted in my reference.<br><br>Another way to go about it is to start your delphinium seed (or buy your plants) in late summer, plant them into the garden in early fall, mulch them for the winter (if your ground freezes considerably), and expect a knock-out show next spring-early summer. Hopefully, your plants will get large enough the first fall-to-spring season that they will survive the following summer (and each year they may get bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger). A summer mulch will help keep the soil moist and cool, by the way.

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