How long from seed to garden?

chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 774


I have lost of empty spaces in our newly cleared garden and a limited budget so trying to decide how to use my funds most effectively. Im quite happy and keen to grow some perennials/ grasses on my wish list from seed but want to be realistic about how quickly I will get garden-ready plants (partly re the space and time etc needed for lots of potting on). This seems to be the sort of practical information which isn't readily available so am hoping to pick your brains as to how long any if the following will take to go from seed to garden please or whether plug plants or divisions/cuttings may be the route to go?

Stipa gigantea

Stipa tenuissima

Penisetums Hamelyn and Little Bunny



Helianthus Lemon Queen

Phlomis russelina and Amazone

Thank you!



  • autumngloryautumnglory Posts: 228

    Not sure about the others but stipa tenuissima seeds very easily. I started off with one and by the end of the year I had 6. 

    It's actually classed as invasive sometimes but the seedlings are easy enough to pull up if you don't want them.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 24,522

    non of the named cultivars can be relied upon to come true from seed

    Stipa tenuissima is easy, seed around the garden, you'd have some flowers next year. I have never had a seedling from S. gigantea which suggests it's not so willing. Grasses are generally easy though.

    Phlomis are very easy as well but it will be P. tuberosa not the cultivar 'Amazone' (whatever the seller tells you) it will be seed from 'Amazone'. A few flowers next year maybe.

    Heleniums are easy but you don't get those lovely russett/oranges (at least, I didn't)

    A quicker and barely more expensive option is to buy one plant and use it as propagating material rather than flowers for the garden. Cut the flowers off and take cuttings or split up

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 2,102

    I've had a couple of attempts at growing stipa gigantea from seed, so far none has germinated. It requires stratification, and at very specific temperatures which, as an amateur, I find it difficult to provide. Unless I've been unlucky, I think it's a tricky one.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 774

    Thanks for all your replies - you can't put a price on advice based on practical experience ?

  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,173

    Agree with Nut - buy one plant, split it, and take cuttings right from the base of the plant where they meet the root (if you can get a bit of root with the cutting so much the better). I turned one Salvia Caradonna into 3 divisions plus 5 cuttings this way.

    Keep your eyes peeled for garden centre stock that you can split into the maximum number of plants!

    If you want to fill your beds rapidly, annuals might be the way to go, if only for the first year while your perennials beef up a bit.

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 774

    Thanks Willdb, have lots of annuals on the go for this year and am beginning to think that cuttings and divisions I should probably the best way to go. Am going to Malvern next week so might treat myself to a couple of plants if I see any with lots of  'dividing' potential

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 24,522

    I always look at the bottom of plants before the top and pick the most dividable. I once took a saw to a weigela that had 2 main stems, right through the middle of the root ball, hoping both had plenty of root. It worked. image both halves grew

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 774

    Well done, Nutcutlet - will keep my fingers crossed for some similar discoveries : )

  • TopsoiledTopsoiled Posts: 113

    It's worth bisiting garden centres and looking for their clearance section, often the plants are great for dividing or propagating from and very cheap. I bought a couple of Russian sage (£1) that split very easily and propagated about a dozen plants from. Achillea - 3 plants last year - about 20 this year through division. Lavender - propagated 100s of plants from a small stock and rosemary - over 500 plants from half a dozen originals. Some will take time to have an impact but next year will be here before you know it! Also keep an eye out for local amateur plant sales - lots of bargains to be had - a few on this weekend in my area.

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 774

    Thanks Topsoil, I did get some bargains a few months again at our local GC. I must be brave and pop in again - I say brave as it's so tempting and needless to say the reduced plants are right at the back so you have to walk through all the plants to get there.......

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