Need Opinions - Might Order Seeds

jspece(Josh - z4 IA)December 21, 2006

I'm thinking of trying alpines from seed for the first time. Has anyone attempted to grow any of these from seed? Anyone grow these at all? Would love to hear any first hand experiences and how tricky these may be. Also wondering if I can expect flowers from any of these the first year?

Any alpine seed growing tips are welcome!

Aloinopsis spathulata

Calochortus nuttallii

Campanula raineri

Campanula shetleri

Douglasia nivalis

Houstonia rubra

Mimulus rupicola (won't be hardy, but too cool to pass up!)

Pulsatilla turczaninovii

Veratrum formosanum (not really an alpine, but...)

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leftwood(z4a MN)

I grew Pulsatilla turczaninovii from seed. That was before I read you're suppose to remove the tails on the seeds. Wintered sowed in mid Feb here in Minnesota. Maybe a third to half of seed germinated in late May. Don't know if the tails had anything to do with anything. Pretty slow growing, but the tenacity of the little buggers was surprising. I don't fertilize, although others do. Turczaninovii is a reall honey. I seldom post pics on GW since the Ivillage takeover, but you (or anyone) can email me for a password to my photobucket account where you can see the pulsatilla and a lot more.

Be sure to use an excellent draining lean planting medium for all your alpines. A most excellent discussion on seed starting alpines is here. It starts with a different subject. Scroll down to Feb 3, and it continues on and on.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 4:22PM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

Thanks! I had the Pulsatilla on my list, because I remember your picture.

The post you linked to was a good help. So it is best to grow the seeds outdoors as apposed to under lights or in a greenhouse? I have all of the above at my disposal...

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 1:48PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Because alpine plants are what they are, they like the cool temps. Inside the house under lights would be the last option, as cool temps are non-existant (especially at night). Greenhouse would be questionable - does it get hot during the day in the sunshine? Alpines hate heat and humidity. A coldframe would be ideal, where you could regulate the temperature and airflow. I start mine outside on the north side of my house. Most are winter sown. Just acquired a coldframe that I will be putting up.

I think that thread listed good sites for germination advice for alpines, like the Ontario Rock Garden Society Germination Guide. Temps might seem warm for some to germinate, but that doesn't necessarily mean warm once they are up and growing. It may be just to get the up at all, and/or to get them past a disease vulnerability stage.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:47PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I've done Calochortus species, although not nutallii...yet. I patted the seeds on to moist jiffy-mix in a pot, covered lightly and set the pot outside all winter to fend for itself. They germinated. I think my oldest pot is on year 3--hopefully the little bulbs will be big enough to plant out in the open garden this year.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 7:52PM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA) outdoors it is!

Do you expect your 3yo Calochortus to bloom this year, Lisa?


    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 7:07PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Recently found another (though comparatively crude) germination guide, but it has tons of species on it. Really, it's the experience of one gardener, who recorded days to germination, and with or without a cold treatment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magner Aspaker's Sowing Methods

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 8:02PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I HOPE the Calochortus will bloom this year, but I don't expect a thing. Bulbous plants are slow to grow here in Northern Nevada, even under the best of conditions. As in slow to grow from seed--they do just fine from bulbs.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 8:06PM
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I tried veratrum nigrum several times and am waiting one more time with winter sowing method- it seems to be tough cookie to germinate/ and I am reasonably good at it/

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:36PM
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