The Q&A Archives: Lisianthus From Seed

Question: I have some beautiful lisianthus plants that I'd like to see if I can grow from seed next year. They're almost ready to be frost-bitten, so if there's a spot to search for seeds within the blossom, I'd like to know so I can harvest now for seed starting in April. If there is anything you can do to help me find the seeds, I'd appreciate it.

Answer: The mature seeds will be found in the ripened ovary just beneath the petals of each flower. In order to have viable seeds, the flowers must remain on the plant until they've dropped their leaves and the remaining ovary has turned a tannish color. If your lisianthus still has blossoms with petals attached, and the weather is threatening, you may not get any seeds at all from them. If there are some stems from old, spent flowers remaining on your plant, you can cut the stems and hold them upside down inside a white envelope while you shake to dislodge the dust-like seeds. Store by transferring to a plastic baggie or jar that you can seal. Keep the seeds in a cool, dark location until next spring, then sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix. Just barely press them in; the seeds will need light to germinate. Seeds are erratic to germinate, but you should expect most of them to sprout in 10-21 days if you provide bottom heat (68F - 77F degrees). You can place the trays or pots on top of your refrigerator or near a water heater for warmth, or put them atop propagating mats. Good luck with your seed starting venture!

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