Some questions from a newbie

greylady_gardenerJuly 24, 2007

I know that this forum is rather quiet right now as everyone is out in the garden enjoying all the winter sown plants that they grew this year. Still I am hoping that someone will be around to answer a question or two about WS. I found this forum and am so anxious to try it!! (although not a winter person and certainly not wishing away the summer) It is a concept that I had wondered about, but had thought about preparing a place in the garden and sowing directly into it in the late fall, not actually planting in containers......although I like the container idea! So much more room to plant so I can have so much more variety!!

Anyway, I am now beginning to think of what to plant and about seed gathering as plants are going to seed. I have usually cut the dying blossoms off most of my perennials as I was under the impression that letting them go to seed would weaken or actually cause some of them to die off. Not all of them of course as I do let some that I know to be very hardy and almost indestructable, go to seed. What about my daylilies and hostas?.....both of which I absolutely love and would feel awful if I harmed them in any way by letting them go to seed. I also wondered if maybe I should not let first year plants go to seed. I planted a globe centaura this year and would like to grow more but as it is the first year for it and I really don't know its' hardiness yet, I am wondering if I should cut off all but one seed head.

Well I guess those are my first two concerns. I am looking forward to my first attempt at WS and learning lots of tips from everyone...I have been doing lots of reading in the forum so hopefully will not have to be doing too much asking! :)

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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Welcome to the forum Greylady. We asked for this forum and I am rather disappointed at the interest shown. I would like to direct you to the site, which will give you all the information you need to sow seeds, and quite a bit of information on seed saving. I have grown Hosta from seed, which I got through a trade. Daylilies can take up to 3 years before getting a bloom, so you have to make your choices based on your time onstraints.Another place you should visit is the seed site: it provides all the information you need on saving seeds and sowing them. The site is:
If there is any other information you wish after this, I am sure someone will be able to help. We have all been there.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:55AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

For plants that I want to collect seed from, I will leave a few stalks, some are very weedy, so those I cut right back after they are finished blooming.

Be warned Centaura can be weedy if left be.

Then there are some hardy annuals that will self-seed for next year if left be.

Hostas and Daylily's will not come true from seed, but if you're into surprises, starting these plants by seed will be rewarding. I rather just buy a cultivar plant so I deadhead these. The plant will not lose any energy by saving seed.

Tulips, Lilies, Irises on the other hand will, those I always cut off their spent blooms.

Northerner, I don't think anyone asked GW for a Canadian Wintersowing forum, I think it just appeared one day out of the blues. I'm a little disappointed too that this forum is dead. We are chatty over at the Far North forum if anyone is interested.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:55PM
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Hi greylady-gardener,

I always deadhead my lilies and let the hosta go to seed and they are getting bigger and more beautiful as the years go by.

I think that this forum will pick up as people start trading seeds for Winter Sowing? I'm hoping so, anyways.

This will be my first year winter sowing, and I have collected some of my Columbine seeds. As other perennials come to seed, I will be collecting them as well.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 10:49PM
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Thanks everyone for the info....visited the seed site and loved what I have seen so far. There is so much information that I think it will take a while to read everything.
While I don't want my globe centaurea to get weedy, I do want to have more of them (in a controlled situation) so I will try to save the seeds and grow some to plant where I want them to be. I love their cheery, bright yellow heads!
Hostaaud, thanks for the info about your experience with hostas. I do hope, now that seeds are setting and it is definitely time to be thinking ahead to when we want to start them, that the action will pick up in the forum. I too have been collecting columbine seeds. Although I am noticing little seedlings popping up everywhere. :) I am still saving some for trading, and so that I know what is where........with the volunteer seedlings, I have no idea what type or colour is where....nice to have the volunteers, though. I find it interesting to see what colour comes up where.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 12:07AM
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Hi greylady-gardener
I have columbines popping up all over the yard as well. I wait until spring, then I round them all up and put them where they're supposed to go. It is nice to have volunteer seedlings around the yard, but too often they are growing in places where they are not supposed to be. :-)
I'm looking forward to winter sowing and I have started saving bottles, containers and stuff.
IF I get around to it, I'll be building a greenhouse out of PVC this autumn. Wish me luck on that. :-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 12:42AM
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Hostaaud, do you have instructions for the pvc greenhouse or are you making it from your own plan? I have a small plastic greenhouse that is collapsible for storage but it is very small and I noticed a small rip this year, so have to repair that for next year. I would like something bigger than that, but really don't have a lot of places to put it and definitely not on a permanent basis.....unless I get a real brainwave! :)
I hit the jackpot as far as containers go last week! I have been saving containers for WS, but happened to drive by a house that had a huge square garbage can of plastic pots of all sizes out for recycling. I didn't take them all (wish I had), but I got a LOT!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 9:40AM
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Letting your hostas or daylilies go to seed certainly won't harm them or set them back.

Although I took a break from winter sowing Hostas this past year, I did winter sow some the two years before then. I was most impressed with the Francis Williams offsprings - no variegation, but the leaves are nice and thick and the green is really nice, like the green of new growth on Spruce bows. We'll see how they grow as time goes on. These were babies last year...

Now this year the leaves are well over 6 inches long. They also have the wide characteristic of FW. Looking forward to seeing them at their peek in a couple of years.

I have been in conversation with another winter sower about Hostas and to get a higher probability of variegation, I will be trying out seeds from my hostas which have leaves which are pedominantly white or yellow. One that I'm aiming for is the Christmas Tree Hosta - thick yellow leaves with a green edge. If the deers come around again, I might have to place some netting over the flowers... :O)

Oh, and welcome and congrats on your container haul!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 3:08PM
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Hi Greylady,

CONGRATS on the container HAUL!

As for the PVC Greenhouse, do a search on Google for HOW to build a PVC Greenhouse. You will get lots of information from the sites that are listed. I'm taking a little of this and a little of that of the info and brainstorming to see what I can come up with. I want it to be able to collapse and be put away for the summer.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:35AM
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I just have a few minutes on the computer today so will have to look up the greenhouse instructions another day.
I am on holidays this week and part of next. I was driving along on Monday night and came across another (smaller)haul of containers that was in someone's recycling!! I took the pots but left the trays....kicking myself now!! :)
I am also saving a lot of seeds. I have a new hosta (gold drop) and just love it. I really hope that I get seeds from is so beautiful.
What is everyone else saving?....or are you? Do we ever have "enough"?? :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:06PM
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madrone(VancIsl BC)

Could you provide some information about how you planted your hosta seeds. Did you plant them in the styrofoam cups directly and then where did you put them? When did they germinate? How did you collect the seed?
I've always just dug up my clumps and teased them apart for new plants. This sounds like a novel idea!
Graylady-gardener, what zone are you gardening in? I would think that some seeds that would germinate for me probably wouldn't do so well in colder places. Glad I stumbled on this site...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 1:32AM
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Hi Madrone, I am in SW Ontario....not sure of the zone, but my yard has some pockets where I have amazing results with some plants!
I am also interested in how the hosta seeds are collected.....I have several that have finished flowering but since the flowers are shrivelled up and gone, there doesn't seem to be any seed pods forming. Do they only form seeds sometimes? I was really hoping to get some seeds from some of my new ones! :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:34PM
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I collected the seeds from pods which had opened and the seeds were dark and mature. Sometimes it takes a while for the seed pods to open, so if there's enough on a plant, I'll open one to see for myself if I can safely gather them, take them inside and place in a paper bag, and wait for them to open and expose the seeds in the warmth of the house.

I sowed them in the styro cups after I placed drain holes in the cups. Then I placed them in these plastic baskets - which again have more drain holes - and covered them. I have these little cages I've made which go on the top, and then the plastic goes on the top of that. The top plastic gets punctured with holes for aeration and watering by the snow and the rain.

If you look at the tags in the cups, there's the date, M26 (March 26). That's the date they were sowed. Here in Nova Scotia we are experiencing the end of winter and praying for spring by this time. They typically germinate for me in early/mid June.

For their first year I keep them in pots for the summer, and then in a holding bed - still in their pots - for the winter. I've never lost one.


I don't know why, but sometimes hostas don't produce seeds. Maybe it has to do with the maturity of the plant? Possibility...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 6:45PM
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tiffy--I thought that none of my hostas had produced any seeds this year, but when I was looking around the garden last week, I saw two seed pods on my Hadspen Blue! They are small and may take a while to mature, so I hope they do before it gets too cold and frost kills them off before they can be harvested.
I have only had the Hadspen Blue for 3 or 4 years as opposed to some others that I have had for a long time, so not sure why it is producing seeds.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 3:37PM
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