Annuals forum: What are you trying "new" for this year?

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 16, 2010 10:48 PM CST
I have a few new ornamental grasses and a bunch of zinnias. I'm pretty excited about the zinnias - got a combo pack that has 7 different kinds + Yoyo_jo gave me a bunch more. They sure add a lot of color.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 16, 2010 11:20 PM CST
I'll be trying quite a few new annuals, thanks to Summer Hill and Plant World Seeds, but the ones I'm most excited and anxious about are Lisianthus and Bat Flower. Problem will be germinating them to begin with...Any helpful hints would be appreciated!

Also doing Castor Beans for the first time, but I don't think germinating will be an issue with those.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 17, 2010 7:19 AM CST
Cool. I tried Lisianthus several years ago and although they had germinated, the never grew. I never tried them again. Let me know how yours make out.

Those Bat Flowers look neat. Will they flower the 1st year? Are you planting seeds or a root. I seen them offered both ways.
Name: Chris
NW Pa, Near Lake Erie
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Ladygardener1
Feb 18, 2010 7:18 AM CST
Barbara, Castor Beans are pretty easy and quit fun to start. I start mine in April since they grow fast and are big. Use a 3 to 4 inch nursery. I find they transplant easily out into the garden and will start growning pretty fast outside.
I have even planted some in large pots with some small fill in plants like petunias at the bottom for on the deck which gives a tropical look.
This one grew more over the season about 4 foot. The ones that I planted in the ground near the patio got about 7 foot.
If you get heavy winds and rain in the summer they may need to be staked and tied up.

Thumb of 2010-02-18/Ladygardener1/fd4d80
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 18, 2010 4:27 PM CST
Joanne...I did the research and asked questions of the seed vendors, the bat plant seeds I got (Tacca integrifolia) have the <i>potential<i/> to bloom in 6-8 months. If I can even get the seeds to germinate, I'll keep it inside till June and bring it back in sometime in August. Just one of those plants that I kept gravitating back to and decided to try so I can get it out of my system.

I got the lisianthus to germinate about 6 years ago when I knew nothing about gardening, researching or DG. Ignorance was bliss. Course not knowing how early I should have started them OR how long it took them to bloom, I got impatient and threw them out after 3 months and one inch tall. Planted them last week and not seeing germination yet, but I have acquired a meager level of patience and am better prepared this time. They are gorgeous, so I hope they'll grow.

Chris...The castors caught my eye on DG. I purchased some seeds on eBay, then two people sent me seeds so I have red, pink, maroon and green seeds to try. No wind except when we have a thunderstorm approaching. They pass quickly, but can do damage as they pass. Also, for some reason, we'll usually get one or two hail storms mid-summer (last year on the 4th of July), so anything I grow that tall is done with the intention of staking...Hoping to get some big, sturdy castors!
Name: stephanie king
cut bank, MT z 3a-4b
Life is what you make it, so make i
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rebloomnut
Feb 19, 2010 9:59 PM CST
Years ago I started seed of the Bat Plant "Tacca" but I used a germinating chamber with warmth and humidity regulated to mock the tropics. They germinated within a cple days and grew beautifully. We sold every one of them within 3 days of bloom start so never did get one for myself. The blooms were awesome by the way so I hope they grow for you.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 19, 2010 11:39 PM CST
I've got them on a heat-mat with a dome to simulate the same. I adjust the dome if I think it's too warm or moist. Going on a week, but package said 1-9 months to germinate at 80 degrees and high humidity so I'm not discouraged yet. Just hope I'm not cooking them. Planted 5 seeds and have 5 more for a second shot.
Name: stephanie king
cut bank, MT z 3a-4b
Life is what you make it, so make i
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Enjoys or suffers cold winters Roses Clematis Region: United States of America
Peonies Daylilies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Echinacea Irises Cat Lover
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rebloomnut
Feb 20, 2010 10:37 AM CST
I would think if the seed is fresh it would germinate sooner. Might even try the 1/10 peroxide/water and spray them to keep any fungus from setting in.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 20, 2010 11:48 AM CST
Think I'll do that tomorrow with a few of my 5 seeds left...thanks for the tip!
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
Feb 20, 2010 7:34 PM CST
A new one for me this year will be zinnia zahara starlight rose. I had forgotten that I ordered them a couple of weeks ago. They came in the mail yesterday.

Karen
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
Feb 21, 2010 9:48 PM CST
New for me this year are Castor Beans aswell ,Emilia 'Scarlet Magic' and Pepper 'Black Pearl'.

Keep us posted on the bat plant Barbara! Would love to see pics!
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 21, 2010 9:57 PM CST
I'm also trying the zahara zinnia starlight rose, penstemon chocolate drop, and Purple Flash peppers. Steven, I grew the Black Pearl last year--they were quite easy to grow from seed and were stunning plants all the way through fall.

I was going to try lisanthus from seed, but my seeds have been back ordered since December--way too late to start them now Sad

Bat plants are way cool--let us know how they do.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 21, 2010 11:46 PM CST
As for the bat---the 6 seeds I've had on the heat mat in high humidity and lights for about a week or so has done nothing. So, today I'm trying Plans B, C & D while those take their time.

Trying 2 seeds each:
* Soaking 24 hours in 3% peroxide, then will plant in Pro-Mix starter mix
* Soaking overnight in straight lemon juice, then same as above
* Soaking overnight in really hot water, then same as above

Explanation for those processes:
I've never diluted my 3% peroxide when using it on plants. Originally didn't know you should and haven't had any ill effects using it straight.

I've used the straight (or sometimes diluted) lemon or lime juice soak to germinate seeds with hard coats. I'd first heard it suggested for iris seeds as those apparently contain a germination inhibitor that is dissolved when it passes through the digestive process of a bird that has eaten and then expelled the seed. I will experiment in a heartbeat so I tried it last year with a few wild iris seeds, passion flowers, clitorea, vigna caracalla and phaseolus. Had a high rate of fast germination. The wild iris is overwintering in the fridge. The passion flowers got cut back and are overwintering in my guest bedroom. The clitoreas I've given up on. I've germinated them three years in a row. They are happy in the garage with lights and warmth, then they do a very slow decline outside in the summer. The vignas all grew to cover a trellis, but again, I don't think it gets warm enough or long enough to get blooms from the clitoreas or the vignas...Bottom line,the acidic juices made a tremendous difference in germination so I'm trying it with bat seeds and Arabica coffee beans.

And last...I'm reading the bat needs a really hot soak. A thermos bottle was suggested to keep the water hot for 12-24 hours. My "creative alternative"? I've got them in water in a little glass jar (uncovered) on one of those electric candle warmers. They want hot? I'll give 'em hot.

Only have a few seeds left, but I'm determined, so if none of these work, I'll order another batch from a different source. Once I'm on a mission, I get a little obsessed...we'll see what If anything works. I'll have 6 bat plants or NONE!
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
Feb 22, 2010 5:16 AM CST
Chololatemoose, you have all bases covered. You must be a patient person.

Karen
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
Feb 22, 2010 12:16 PM CST
Way to go Barbara! You have everything way more planned then I would!


Another new thing I'm trying this year is....................................

I completly forget what I was going to say.

When it comes back to me I'll post.


Thanks Linda! I'm really looking forward to the peppers too! I plant on planting some with 'Royal Ensign' dwarf morning glories and some polkadot plants.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 22, 2010 12:19 PM CST
Wouldn't say patient. I just get obsessed with figuring out a way to make it work if I really want something. Sometimes it's really just not meant to be, like the vignas that I can get started with no problem, but can't get to bloom.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
Feb 22, 2010 12:27 PM CST
I had a passionflower that I started and it had large glossy deep green leaves but wouldn't bloom for anything. So it got to meet Mr. Compost.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 22, 2010 12:44 PM CST
Yep...been there, done that. I do have one I'm wintering indoors that got cut back many times till it's now only about 3 inches. I figured I see if I could keep the root system alive. In the last week, it has put out 3 tiny leaves near what's left of the base! Hopefully the root system it will be strong enough in it's second year to put out a bloom or it will meet the same fate as yours.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
Feb 22, 2010 1:53 PM CST
he he he. Mr. Compost and Mr. Frost always take care of those rebelious plants.
Name: Barbara
North Pole, Alaska
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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chocolatemoose
Feb 22, 2010 2:10 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Got that right!
When I first started gardening, if it has the slightest, barely perceptible hint of green, I couldn't/wouldn't move or destroy it. I'd coddle and baby the saddest looking thing.

NOW, my DH knows "The Look" and warns all the flowers that "she's coming and somebody's in for it"...It means it's either getting moved or getting it's leg-lettes ripped out permanently for not performing to my specifications.

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