Perennials From Seed - Knowledgebase Question

Lancaster, OH
Question by dmcgushin
January 4, 1998
Which perennials are truest from seed and when is the best time to start and transplant them?


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Answer from NGA
January 4, 1998

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Actually, if seeds are purchased from a reputable dealer, you will find that most will grow true to seed. You only run into trouble with things running true to seed if you harvest your own seed and the seed you have harvested is from a hybrid plant. For example, you can harvest seed from a daylily but because it is a hybrid, you will not get a daylily like the one you harvested from. Almost all prolific "self sowers" grow true to seed, this would include cleome, hollyhock, black eyed susans and poppy. In my garden, I count back 6 weeks from the last frost date, and use that date start my seed indoors. For example, our last frost date is usually May 10, I sow seed on or about March 29. Different seed may have different requirements, always check the package. Seedlings require a period of "hardening off" before they get a permanent home in your garden. After your seeds are well sprouted and established, you gradually move them outdoors in to more and more light for longer periods oftime. Setting out tender transplants all at once after they have been all comfy cozy in your home will surely do them in.

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