Columbines from seed - Knowledgebase Question

Cortlandt Manor, Ne
Question by thomasleder
April 10, 2010
What is the best way to grow Columbines from seed?
Do they need special care or can you just cover them with a little top soil and water for a few weeks?

Answer from NGA
April 10, 2010


Most columbines tend to self-sow. The taller types tend to self-sow more readily than the dwarf types, and as with most plants, hybrids may not produce seedlings true to the parent types. If you enjoy the cycle of self-seeding, my suggestion is to let the drop their seeds at the end of the season by not pruning off the spent flowers. Or, you can collect the seeds and sow them yourself. Starting columbine from seeds takes a little work, but like all the best things in life, it's worth the trouble. In order to germinate, columbine seeds require stratification, which is a process of subjecting the seeds to a moist/cold treatment to bring them out of dormancy. The easiest way to do this is to plant the seeds in the fall or in early spring when the nights are still cold, letting nature take care of the process for you. If you have your heart set planting your columbines in the spring, place the seeds in a tray of moist soil, and place the tray in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks. Columbine seeds need light to germinate, so whether you start them indoors or out, press them lightly into the top of the soil but don't cover them with soil. Seeds can take up to 25 days to germinate.

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