Seeds forum: Verbena bonariensis difficulty

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 14, 2015 8:25 AM CST
Is there a trick to getting these to germinate? I had them outdoors for a couple of months a la wintersowing and brought them indoors to get them to germinate. I have a short growing season and wanted to get a bit of a head start with them. Online info says they want dark and 72 degrees so I did that. So far, one seedling. Am I working too hard at this? Any quick tips would be appreciated.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Apr 14, 2015 9:28 AM CST
Oh my, I've never purposefully grown them from seed. I got a few plants from my mom several years ago and now I'm never without it! I think leaving them outside would be better. At least that has been my experience with them.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Apr 14, 2015 9:33 AM CST
Yes, leaving them outside would be better!
They germinate under cool conditions.
I winter sow them, and they do fine in our short season.
Mine have sprouted outside.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 14, 2015 11:23 AM CST
Ach! I read that they germinate at 72 degrees! Crumbs! They're going back outside today. I thought I could get them to germinate quicker indoors. See - I did think too much. :)
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Apr 15, 2015 10:08 AM CST

Moderator

They're like weeds for me. I've been trying to get rid of them for 8 or 10 years but a new bumper crop comes up every year. Just give them a little time. I have no doubt that they will sprout.

Karen
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 15, 2015 10:15 AM CST
I grew them for the first time last year and they were in a bed that was mulched with leaves and I just put down a fresh mini-layering of stuff to improve the soil so I doubt any will come up. They didn't bloom until almost our first frost so not sure if any seed matured. DD had problems getting them to germinate last year and she keeps her sprouts way cooler than me.
The 6-packs did get moved outdoors yesterday so maybe the cool nights will help them along.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Apr 15, 2015 8:08 PM CST
It's not that unusual for certain seed to sprout very easily when left alone in the garden from year to year, while being difficult to sprout in a pot. The opposite can be true, too. Realize that the "in the garden" seed bank is a hundred times (or more) of what you have in your "in the pot" seed bank. Also take into account that the "in the garden" seed bank includes seed from previous years. Suddenly such a "failure" in the pot isn't so devastating. Smiling
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Apr 15, 2015 9:27 PM CST
Do you know what the seedlings look like? Because there's a good chance you'll have some, even with mulch. If not, I can take a photo tomorrow, I have them coming up all over but I don't mind because they are easy enough to pull out and some I transplant to where I want them.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Apr 15, 2015 9:30 PM CST
Chelle has a photo in the database of seedlings.

Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Apr 16, 2015 7:54 AM CST
I am not sure on this (will need to experiement a bit?) ,
but I am not sure that getting them to germinate
early will lead to early flowers.
I think they do not flower until after the solstice, when days are getting shorter?
Maybe we should keep track of them and see if this is true?
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 16, 2015 8:37 AM CST
Leftwood - good point. If I can get them to grow for another year or two, I might have some seeds in the bank.
Abhege - thanks for posting those pics. I do have one seedling for comparison.
Caroline - I hadn't thought about the blooms being day-light sensitive. We did have a cloudy, cool spring last year when my two plants went in. They got rather tall and lanky and were leaning quite a bit.
Thanks all for your advice.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Apr 16, 2015 8:44 AM CST
They are a tall and lanky plant.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 16, 2015 8:47 AM CST
jv - do you just prop them up against other plants? I do get some wind out of the west, channeling between two houses in that bed and I have to make sure that even the tomato cages are secured pretty well.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Apr 16, 2015 8:57 AM CST
yes, either prop them up with other plants or make cages or supports for them. Their floppiness was another reason I stopped growing them.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 16, 2015 9:58 AM CST
I'll be growing them in my sunniest bed (sun from noon to almost sunset) which is a mixed bed with perennials, roses, tomatoes, kale, a few peppers - a real hodge podge of stuff requiring some sun. Maybe there will be enough other plants in there to keep them upright. :)
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Apr 20, 2015 4:44 AM CST
I usually get one self-sown sprout each year since planting out my first one several years ago. Germination with any method I tried was very low as well. I didn't notice any marked difference in bloom times between my very early plant versus self-sown plants, so I think Caroline has offered a very valid point. Smiling
If I had a bunch of seed I'd happily toss them out in a more natural part of the gardens here and let them do what they will. They're great food plants for late season nectar-seekers.
Cottage Gardening

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 20, 2015 7:21 AM CST
chelle - thanks for that observation about low germination. When DD and I both have low germination, it made me wonder about posted methods. I guess it must be on of those plants best left to its own devices.
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
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DomehomeDee
Aug 14, 2015 9:40 PM CST
I've really enjoyed reading this post. I've had trouble with Verbena bonariensis too. I really wanted a row of it next to my greenhouse and then I could put zinnias and other flowers in front of it. This is in my "nectar" garden specifically for bees and butterflies. I didn't have much luck last year with the few seeds I put out that I collected off the one plant I had. This year I bought a packet of like 500 seeds from Geoseed. I put half out in Fall and half out early Spring figuring I'd get something up. It wasn't looking good and then it finally happened late Spring I got a nice row of about 25 plants. So over-seeding worked, I hope next year I get as many volunteers.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 15, 2015 7:29 AM CST
I'm getting the impression that these seeds like warmer weather to germinate. I think I got 2 tiny seedlings which were way too small to plant out. For the price of seeds, it sounds like you got a great deal even with over-seeding.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Aug 15, 2015 11:13 AM CST

Moderator

When I actually grew them deliberately, I wintersowed them. It's been years, but I seem to remember them being early early (i.e. cold weather) sprouters.

Karen

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