Help! Astrantia by seed


I've collected seeds this year from my Astrantia Major and Astrantia Buckland but have read conflicting reports on how and when to sow them.  Can I sow them now?  If sow do I sow them indoors or outdoors?

Many thanks for your advice!




  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    Yes Michelle, sow them now. Outside or cold GH, they'll germinate in spring.

  • yes they need a spell of cold. Germination can be a bit patchy. As Nutcutlet suggested leave them out in the cold. Put a bit of grit on the top of the compost once you have sown them to keep the seeds in/ weeds out. As they are fresh seeds you will probably do quite well with them. I bought and sowed seeds a few years ago. Two varieties, about 20 seeds in all. Only one plant in the end, but still cheaper than buying a plant. I keep hoping mine will self-seed like my aquilegias. No such luck so far.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    Gg, I sometimes wonder just how old some of the bought seed is. Fresh seed never lets me down and they do seed around.

  • just can't resist buying seeds for plants I crave. Tend to buy a few from Plant World every year. Some do really well (looking out of window at forest of Echium seedlings) but others a bit hit and miss. I sowed some trillium and erythronium seeds last Autumn that I am giving another winter....PW do say that their seeds can take up to two years to germinate. Definitely best to sow your own fresh seed if you can.

  • Thank you so much for your help and advice.  Do you have luck growing aqueliga by seeds as I've tried twice now and am getting nothing!!  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.........maybe being too impatient?  If I sow them now when should I see any sign of life?

  • you might have  some luck if you sow them now. Scatter the seeds on some moist compost, cover with a clear plastic bag and put them somewhere warm and light and they may just have time to germinate before winter sets in (it's a bit parky at the moment, but we may still get some warm Autumn weather!). Once they have got true leaves, pot them on and keep them in a cold frame or cold GH over winter to plant out next spring. I sowed some and have just had them on a sunny windowsill outside, with a clear plastic bag to keep them warm and moist. I *think*,  after about three weeks, they are starting to come up. If they had been kept in the warm, would probably have happened sooner, but being in a basement flat, sunny indoor windowsill space is at a bit of premium! Alternatively, save the seed for spring. I find they take a while but they should come up - all the aquilegia in my garden are grown from seed. Sometimes I just sow seed directly outdoors. They come up when they are ready! Make sure they don't dry out, but don't drown them. Use a seed compost or leaf mould if you have it.

  • oh and if you do manage to get some going now, plant them out as soon as it's warm enough - they don't much like being moved and I find smaller plants establish better. Plus it's easier to squeeze them into established borders!

  • if it's any consolation, Lily of the Valley refuses to grow for me! I've tried established plants, slips, seed........nada!

  • This is so helpful - thank you so much!!!

  • DO NOTHING... i.e, let the seed fall on the soil where they are. They will germinate in situ and you can dig them up and move them on next spring. Simples.image

  • I'm moving house (hence my wish to take some with me!). 

  • Ginglygangly re your Trilium seeds, I'm sure it said on GW that they grow a root in the first year, and then grow a shoot in the second year. So don't give up yet.

  • I will have faith. It might just look like a pot of sodden compost to everyone else, but it's a pot of potential to me! Will report triumphantly if any joy in spring!

  • Jinglejangles... I grew Erythronium corms/rhyzomes last autumn in pots. Nearly all flowered, then planted out in garden whilst in flower.

    Michelle, good luck in your new house. Your astrantias will love it I am sure and will give you lots of babies over the years. I seem to get a new brood every yearimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    Michelle, I sowed my aquilegias in autumn for years and they always germinated, mostly in spring but sometimes very quickly and I had tiny plants to nurse through the winter. Last year I bought some new ones from Carrie Thomas at Touchwood, National Collection holder. She said January. This year I sowed in January in a cold GH. Excellent germination in March and no babies to suffer in winter.

    See these and try not to get carried awayimage

    Ask Dovefromabove, she's been there and I'm jealous

  • Lovely to read all the different experiences!

    I have Astrantia, flowering 2nd time now this year, I wondered if the seed would germinate....sometimes it does and sometimes not.....! I will also make attempts to grow in a propagator as well as potting shed.

    I bought a heated propergator last winter determined to grow my own seedlings,  The Echium Vipers [all 6] grew well but only 1 plant is flowering @ 12 - 18 " tall, the other s are growing on a bit better since repotting.  I have also sown some grass seeds - panicum purple haze-as it has self-seeded  around the plant. I have potted some of these as well hoping they survive whatever winter we may get!! 

    I too have started cutting the perenials down, some are growing back quickly, shall I cut them down again or cover when/if it freezes??


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    They don't need heat Rosemary. Hardy plants never 'need' heat though some can be germinated quicker with heat. Not Astrantia though. Sow it now and let it get as cold as it gets. 


  • I don't cut down most of my perennials until the spring. Better for wildlife, better for the plants. Only drawback is the untidiness but that is a very small price to pay. I only clear those areas where spring flowers are planted e.g snowdrops, daffs etc.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    I agree, untidiness is good.

  • Thank you nutcutlet. Will do!

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