Ask a Question forum: perennials from seed planting time

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Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
Jul 26, 2016 7:33 AM CST
hello. It's July. I live in Cincinnati (zone 6). I want to start a perennial garden from seed.

I know about the whole first year they sleep, second year they creep third year they leap guidance. I'd like to get started on that as soon as possible and make 2016 the sleep year (if possible).

Should I plant seeds in my house now and get the plants growing and then move them outside in say Sept? or keep them growing inside all winter and the plant them outside in spring? or should I just force myself to wait until spring and then plant the seeds outside?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Jul 26, 2016 7:49 AM CST
It all depends on which specific perennial that you want to grow.
Different perennials require different germination conditions.
Some need moist warmth and some need a chill and so on.....
To start maybe pick 5 to 10 perennials that you would like to start and then people here could give you advice on the germination for each one.

Or you could search the data base for them---some do include germination advice.

Good luck and keep in touch with us.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Jul 26, 2016 7:57 AM CST
Hi Gary! Some perennial seeds need a freeze-thaw cycle to break dormancy, but if you don't want to leave seed trays outdoors over winter you can chill seeds in the refrigerator (not the freezer) after sowing. Seeds that don't need chilling could be started now, but seedlings might not be big enough to plant in the garden before winter. I'm assuming that in your Zone you will get a good number of frosts and thaws which will tend to push newly planted perennials up out of the soil. As this is a problem for me I over-winter perennial seedlings in an unheated garage - they freeze solid occasionally, but stay in their pots - and transplant them outside in spring. Can you give us a list of the perennials that are you thinking of growing?

Cross-posted with Caroline. Great minds think alike!
[Last edited by JuneOntario - Jul 26, 2016 7:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
Jul 26, 2016 1:26 PM CST
thanks for your replies so far. I have had success growing a lot of perennials from seed this year already in my kitchen by simply using a terrarium. I can do the refrigerator technique to fake out the freeze thaw cycle if necessary.

the plants I am thinking of growing from seed are:

- coreopsis
- smooth aster
- butterfly weed
- meadow blazing star
- blue false indigo
- purple prairie flower
- Joe Pye weed
- compass plant
- blue vervain
- phlox Jeana

I'm pretty confident I can get any of these to germinate (maybe i'm over-confident) in my kitchen and grow them in pots on my porch for the next few months. my real question is whether or not that is a good idea.

- Gary

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