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Growing Echinacea from seed

Last post 20-02-2009 9:08 AM by Michelle M. 10 replies.

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  • 28/12/2008 04:05 PM
    • terraGirl
    • The Norfolk Broads
    • 28 Dec 2008
    • 20
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    I'm looking for some tips on how to successfully grow echinaceas from seed .... let me explain my attempts so far: 

    I usually grow most my plants from seeds with a good success rate, but last year I tried echinaceas for the first time with no luck. I had 2 varieties (paradoxa and purple Magnus). Germination rate was low and those that germinated didn't make it very far - they simply disappeared after potting on / during hardening off. Sad

    I grow my plants in an unheated greenhouse, good seed compost, plenty of light and water ... I though they had everything they needed, but their refusal to grow seems to indicate otherwise. No obvious pest damage. The few plants that made it, just refused to grow and eventually went underground never to be seen again. 

    Incidentally my rudbeckias grew well from seed & are doing great in the garden ....

    Any advice / tips / tricks appreciated! Would love to get them growing this year if I can figure out how! Big Smile

  • 28/12/2008 07:17 PM
    • sue1002
    • Ipswich, Suffolk
    • 06 Sep 2005
    • 9,679
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    What time of year did you sow the seeds Terra?  My guess is that if they were sown in spring in an unheated greenhouse then it wouldn't have been warm enough for the seedlings to grow properly.

    sue1002
  • 28/12/2008 08:31 PM
    • Phot's-Moll
    • The sunny South coast.
    • 06 Jan 2007
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     If you work out how to grow them, then let me know! I sowed some seed but it didn't germinate, so I tried splitting the one plant I had (which had been growing well) and each piece gradually dwindled away.

    http://patsysplot.blogspot.co.uk/
  • 31/12/2008 02:58 AM
    • terraGirl
    • The Norfolk Broads
    • 28 Dec 2008
    • 20
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    Okay - just went back to my garden notes, and they say:

    late Feb 2008 -> Seeds in Propagator (unheated, but with lid)

    30 March 08 -> first green leaves coming through

    27 April 08 -> ready to pot on, but Echinacea purpurea magnus quite small

    -------------------------

    So your tip about temperature could be right. The Rudbeckias took around 60 days to germinate (didn't generate leaves until late April), but once they came through they were strong & did well - so it's the earlier Echinaceas that bit the dust. 

    We did have snow over Easter (late March) and April was usual a mixed bag. So when the Echinacea would have come through, it would have snowed outside.

    Didn't realise I sowed them that early until I went back to my notes - well, in my "gardener's memory" I just recall really nice spring days but my garden diary begs to differ! Smile Weird thing is that we had a really mild Feb / early March - and then the snow came. 

    I'm originally from Austria and we have the "3 Ice Saints" - they are saint days in the catholic calender, and only once they have passed is the danger of frost over, no matter how much the mild weather might lull you into a false sense of security.  Must pay attention to them in 2009!

     

  • 31/12/2008 10:14 AM
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    Unless your propagator was in a warmish (>15C) environment it would probably have been too cold for good germination until April.

    Seed has a characteristic called vigour; vigour is the ability to withstand adverse conditions, it falls off more rapidly during storage than does germinablity.  Most bought echinacea seed that I have ecountered has been stored too long and lacks vigour even if it germinates.  Home-saved seed is best.

     

    Boggy

     

     

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 31/12/2008 02:59 PM
    • terraGirl
    • The Norfolk Broads
    • 28 Dec 2008
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    Many thanks for the tips! Will try again this year but later & if it works out, I'll update the thread. 

  • 31/12/2008 03:17 PM
    • Propagator
    • Bristol
    • 31 Dec 2008
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    Hi

    I grow Echinacea happily from seed , I have checked them today as it has been -8C here, they are doing fine in the glasshouse at 5C

    The trick is they need 18C ( 65 F) with good light levels so wait until late spring .  They can take on average 15-24 days to germinate however if they do not germinate after 28 days it is worth putting the container outside to suffer the night temperatures for 21 days then back inside at 18C for a further 14 days. 

    Another tip Echinacea rarely flowers in the first year after being raised from seed.

    Happy new year

    Propagator.

  • 31/12/2008 04:55 PM
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     It occurs to me that readers of this forum might not realise that retail seeds are bought by seed companies that specialise in selling to amateurs from wholesalers and that wholesalers publish germination details on their website: Jelitto Seeds in this case, that are not always fully passed on to home gardeners.  Just follow the links and you get full details of germination requirements.

    You might notice that the details provided by wholesalers, usually based on their trials, are the basis for those published in gardening books - few people have the resources to experiment on a wide range of seeds, but the major seed companies have done the work for us.

     

    Boggy

     

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 28/01/2009 12:29 PM
    • Michelle M
    • Southampton
    • 26 Jun 2008
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    Being on the South Coast where it is normally warmer, I have been able to grown seeds earlier in the season.

    I have a very small mini greenhouse and have sowed some seeds at the weekend. I have a small heater and am keeping the temperature at around 65f. The seed suppliers recommend cooling the soil temperature at night, so I move the tray to another unheated mini greenhouse.

     Any other tips would be great!

  • 31/01/2009 01:20 PM
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    My tip is not to sow until late February. The cost and bother of keeping seedlings going in Jan/Feb is not usually worth the trouble and expense and you lose little in most cases by sowing later. Very small seeds such as begonias do need to be started off early and some plants take a long time to grow, such as Laurentia, but it makes more sense to buy seedlings or young plants of these. Exhibitors of giant veg must sow early of course, but this is an aberration. Boggy

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 20/02/2009 09:08 AM
    • Michelle M
    • Southampton
    • 26 Jun 2008
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    Thanks for the advice. No signs of the seeds germinating, so brought the tray indoors and placed on a heated propogator tray. Success, seeds are now germinating well and approx 50% are showing through at the moment. Any advice on growing on, gratefully recieved.