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Can I sow now?- Eryngiums, Echinacea, and the grass Stipa gigantea? Mystery


Thought I would trying growing some perennials from seed...........but which is the seed and which is the chaff??  Thought sowing was straight forward........

I have just collected some of the seedheads and wondered if I can sow now indoors or outdoors in a coldframe? Will the seeds still be viable after all the rain and frost?  I have removed the stipa with my fingernails but now wondering if what I have is chaff...... will the seed have been released in the summer and what I have is the buff coloured seed heads -the chaff?  I am looking for black tiny seeds?   Likewise with the Echinacea purpurea the seedhead came apart easily enough but are these long seeds or just a casing?  Do I sow the "seed/tube" or need to extract a seed?  I am now wondering about the many varieties I have collected and stored whether I sow it whole or need to extract a hard tiny seed first.  Are there any hard and fast rules on knowing which is a seed and which isn't?

Also have some seed stored in the fridge in packets and in a jar- will they be stratified and ready to sow, or do they need to be "sown" in a bag of  damp sand.for several weeks first?........

Would like to hear your thoughts, successes and your experiences


  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    I just read somewhere that someone put some Echinacea purpurea seeds into a bag with compost into the fridge (to germinate) and forgot about them, then took them out over 6 months later and they had sprouted and were still doing well. Planted them out and they are thriving. I guess you can but try, like most things, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.image 

    Planting time is usually Feb-June anyway, I also read that they germinate better if you pop the seeds in a bag with sand for 2 weeks in the freezer, they germinate well, so you might be as well to get started now.





    By the way, If you do have a go at it now, would you let me know how they do.. The weather is very mild here and most of my spring grows is already in full swing.. 


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,412

    You won't find every plant in the world listed here dizzy lizzy but I've found both sites very useful.


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Hi

    Thanks for the info- I will try in the fridge and see what germinates and let you know. Here in York we had some severe frosts in early December, mild at the moment, but noticed the Cerinthe on the south-facing wall planted at the base of the  house wall is still flowering from last year, new flowers are coming out, as are the perennial wall flowers, and amazingly the Communis Ricin caster Oil seeds have germinated where they fell to the ground when the plant went black with the frost- so will pot them on and hope for the best. 

  • Thanks discodave the photo of the echinacea has been a god send- sure I sowed some chaff last year and threw away the seeds!


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