Forum home Plants

Growing aquilegia from seed

Hi all

It's just as the title says. I'm trying to grow aquilegia from seed but I don't seem to be having any luck.

I have sown the seed in three inch pots and placed in a heated propagator in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and kept moist. Some of the seed germinated and some didn't. The one's that have, seem to grow to about an inch tall and then before developing their true leaves they wither and die. With the exception of the variety Tequila Sunrise which have grown and now formed their true leaves.

I've been at this for a few months now and everything else seems to grow ok in the propagator except for the aquilegias.

The varieties are William Guiness, Pink and White, Yellow Queen.

All advice gratefully recieved

Many thanks...image



  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Hi image

    Sorry you are having bad luck with your seeds,you dont need a propogater for aquiligia, they are really tough plants, they may be too warm. I usually grow mine inlate spring/ early summer just in post or trays of soil and place somewhere quite shady image
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,461

    Aquilegias dont need heat. They do better with a bit of shade. Advice from Carrie Thomas who has the national collection is here...

    I had 20 packets of her special doubles last year, and I have more seedlings than I know what to do with.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,854

    I find it's best to let some seeds develop from plants in the border and let them germinate there, then pot them up or move them as seedlings when big enough - around now.

    You're unlikely to get plants the same as the parent - very promiscuous are aquilegia! The most common colour I get is a rather dirty white... but some nice ones too.

    I've not had a lot of luck from seed either - they tend to germinate as/if/when they choose. As bekkie says above ideally use a clay pot with some gritty compost, cover with a little more grit, water then leave in a shady place until they decide what they're going to do

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks for your replies

    bekkie hughes. I shall evict them from the propagator immediately, and then follow your advice and put the pots somewhere shady.

    Thanks for the link fidgetbones. I shall read it tomorrow.

    Pete8. It's new varieties I'm trying to grow so I unfortunately I cant collect seedlings from the border. I have had two other varieties for a couple of years now and I liked them so much I thought I would try and grow some more different ones.

    I could go out and buy some plants but I enjoy growing my own from seed. It's so much more satisfying watching them grow.

    Thank you for your help.

  • Hey Disponded. Nut told me that acquilegia need chilling to germinate.  Ie the winter period prior to the spring. So suggest popping I fridge for a few weeks prior to sowing , or sowing them prior to winter for spring germination.  Suggest trying a few methods.  Think of how great you'll feel if you find out what works.  You'll need to change your forum name....imageimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,850

    Carrie Thomas (Touchwood Aquilegias) says sow them in a cold GH in January. I had total success with that. 

    Also had total success with sowing as soon as ripe, sometimes they germinate very quickly and are small plants by winter. Sometimes they germinate in spring.


  • Thanks to you both.

    As well as moving the pots to shade as above I will also chill some seeds before planting and if unsuccessful I can pot them in the greenhouse at the beginning of the year for spring growing.

    Thanks for all the help.

    PS. I might even change my name to 'Almost Disponded'. image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,850

    Mine germinate with total reliability Philippa.

    Desponded, On January 1st 2015. Sow your aquilegias, in pots not trays, with some gritty compost. Put the seed on top then cover with more grit. Water them in. Put them in a cold GH or cold frame and forget them for months. They WILL germinate when their moment comes. I promise. It never fails.

    You can sow now if you like and leave them outside in a shady spot, same result.

    I used to do it like that but sometimes they'd germinate very quickly and I'd have babies to get through the winter

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391

    Same here nut, no problems ever when it comes to germinating aquilegia other than I tend to sow them too thickly and have problems separating.  I sowed some at this time last year and left them through the winter in the seed tray in a cold frame.  The roots grew so much that it was a nightmare separating them and some root damage was inevitable.  The ones sown in January actually overtook them and neither set flowered this year, so I'll also be sticking to January sowing from now on to make life easier for myself. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,850

    It's not just aquilegias I sow too thickly Bobimage

    Nicotiana are even worse to prick out

Sign In or Register to comment.