The Q&A Archives: Germinating Columbine Seeds

Question: I have some columbine seeds and have read different methods on how to germinate them. I know they need to be prechilled to break their dormancy. I have had them in the refrigerator for about three months (just in their package, not in moistened soil). Should I plant them in soil and stick the trays in the refrigerator again for three months? Should they be surface sown or do they need darkness to germinate?

Answer: Your seeds should not need additional chilling to germinate. You can sow them outdoors in March, or start them indoors in January or February for earlier plants. Barely cover seeds with fine soil as they need light to germinate properly. Firm seeds into soil with your hand. Germination may take up to 30 days, depending upon indoor temperature, or in the case of outdoor sowing, various weather factors. Keep seeds moderately moist throughout the germination period.

When outdoor seedlings are 2 to 4 inches high, thin and transplant them to 12 to 18 inches apart. Don't push them too hard with fertilizer and try to keep them moist but not soggy. In warm regions, they will appreciate some protection from the sun, especially during the hot mid-day to afternoon period.

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