Ask a Question forum: How to indoor sow chinese asters??

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Name: BetNC
Hendersonville, NC (Zone 7a)
Annuals Seed Starter Tomato Heads Hellebores Gardens in Buckets Plant and/or Seed Trader
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BetNC
Mar 7, 2016 6:57 PM CST
Below is what I posted in the Propagation forum two days ago and still have no response. Please help me by responding with info!

I was set to sow these asters indoors today, but then I checked the propagating spreadsheet over at that OTHER site ( Whistling ) and read (to my dismay) that they have to be in the freezer first for a minimum of 5 days. . . . which kinda explained why only 2 of 144 seeds sprouted last year! (This info wasn't on that spreadsheet last year!!) So I put the seed packet into a Ziplock container, sealed it and chucked it in the freezer, to sow. . . .later. But the vendor specs do not say anything about needing scarification first, Confused

My FIRST question is: how MUCH later?? How long should I leave them in the freezer???

Yes, I know these seeds can be directly surface sown after the last frost; between a heavy squirrel population, lots of various birds and a flock of marauding crows. .. . .surface sown seeds are eaten almost immediately.

These asters mature height is 20 inches, they bloom early summer to early fall and their average germination time is (vendor reported) 7-21 days. No time interrval is given for sowing/transplanting/etc to first bloom, While my intention is to start them indoors to give them the opportunity to sprout & grow, I do NOT want them to outgrow my other indoor starts: the tallest of my other starts (before transplanting) is 12 inches.

My average last frost day is April 28, so ALL seedlings will be transplanted OUTSIDE May 1, am (since I live in a 1 bedroom apt, my gro station is in my living room and I look forward to dismantling my gro station May 1, pm, and having more room!!).

This will be my third and last year to grow these asters!! Please help me. . any advice will be appreciated

Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Mar 8, 2016 4:21 PM CST
When I have sown Callistephus chinensis outdoors or indoors/green house I just covered them lightly with some soil. Nothing special needed at all. As I recall they grow rather slowly at first, so don't think they should get to an unmanageable size before you can plant them out if sown now. Outdoors horticultural fleece is efficient to keep birds away and helps with germination of many seeds, providing a sheltered micro climate, but not sure what squirrels would do with that.

Not heard of scarification in the freezer before, is it possible that it should be stratification??? In any case I fail to see why placing seeds dry in the freezer would be beneficial, but perhaps something I missed. Generally if we are talking about stratification, seeds needs to be placed in a moist media and usually they are kept in temperatures just above freezing as frost sometimes can damage them when they are moist. It usually takes a lot more time than five days as well. Many times one will first also sow them at warmer temperatures to let the seed absorb more moisture before the cold period in the refrigerator or outdoors.
[Last edited by William - Mar 8, 2016 4:24 PM (+)]
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lktullos
Mar 8, 2016 5:35 PM CST
I am looking for a plant that called Lily starlett
And can it grow in five, I think that is were we live Houston Texas.being lily I thought it would be a blub? Do ya'll sale them???
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 8, 2016 6:16 PM CST
William, you asked some of the same questions I had. Also, I was not sure what "Chinese Asters" were: Callistephus chinensis as you suggested, or Cotoneaster microphyllus. So I didn't even try to guess.

>> I checked the propagating spreadsheet over at that OTHER site ( Whistling ) and read (to my dismay) that they have to be in the freezer first for a minimum of 5 days.

I have heard one or two people saying that freezing seeds (even when dry!) breaks some kinds of dormancy in some seeds. But I never heard that in a source that seemed to have a technical background.

I would only freeze seeds to kill insects and their eggs ... or store them for more than 4 years ... and I would get those seeds darn dry first!

I agree that cold moist stratification usually takes more than five days to break the dormancy (like 2-12 weeks depending on genus), and germination might take another 2-8 weeks for some plants.

I couldn't find starting advice for Callistephus chinensis .
The old T&M germination guide had a suggestion for Cotoneaster, but that is probably NOT "Chinese Aster".

Cotoneaster - Hardy Shrub
- Germinates in 180-365 days at 70F in Acid Peaty Mix
- NEEDS LIGHT TO GERMINATE
- slow and irregular germination
- "See No.15. (3-5 months at 70'F then 3 months in frig) or No. 16."

#16 is winter-sowing

#15 is "Double Dormancy": some species need time cold, like a few weeks or months, THEN time warm. Or time warm, THEN cold, THEN warm again.
Name: BetNC
Hendersonville, NC (Zone 7a)
Annuals Seed Starter Tomato Heads Hellebores Gardens in Buckets Plant and/or Seed Trader
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BetNC
Mar 8, 2016 7:12 PM CST
yes, @RickCorey, they ARE Callistephus chinensis: Tall Pompon White from Outside Pride to be specific.
and I dunno whether its stratification or scarification, sorry

In any case, I think I'll just surface sow indoors, lightly cover with vermiculite. . . and cross my fingers! If they sprout, FINE! Thumbs up If they don't, FINE!! Shrug! I'll just go to my backup plan for that area: Zahara zinnias: they popped up, no problem, last year.

I have about half the seeds I need to cover that area, but it won't kill me to leave part of it bare. 'Sides, that'll give me an excuse to go SHOPPING at my favorite nursery!! nodding Rolling on the floor laughing Angel
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 8, 2016 8:34 PM CST
Oh, well. Sorry I couldn't find anything.

IF they are incredibly slow, you might set the vermiculite tub somewhere out of the way for the rest of the summer, then check it again. Then dump ot so the seeds stay near the surface, in some bed where you'll notice them next year, if that's what it takes.

Or, as you say: FINE! They missed the bus.
Name: BetNC
Hendersonville, NC (Zone 7a)
Annuals Seed Starter Tomato Heads Hellebores Gardens in Buckets Plant and/or Seed Trader
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BetNC
Mar 8, 2016 11:17 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

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