When to sow Magellan Blue Grass under glass?

FogmaticMarch 24, 2011

I've searched the web in vain. This may be because, so far, I've found not only 15 other popular names for it, but 15 BOTANICAL names; Elymus magellanicus is the one used by my favourite seed company (which tries to use the latest names). It's a perennial grass, described by some as 'the bluest of blue grasses'.

I've found the 'how' (pressed into the moist surface & exposed to light), and temperature (15-18c/about 20c), but not the 'when' (except that seeds of some perennial grasses can be sown indoors in late winter & planted out after the last frosts).

I have raised a few of these from seed in previous years, but at haphazard times (as with all my seeds). I want to do it at the best times and save some effort!

I currently have about 70 packets of seeds (excluding vegetables). Instead of simply storing them alphabetically, I've just decided to file the packets according to the ideal, or earliest, sowing month. I've found those out up to 'T' so far, except for Elymus!

I find it more practicable to propagate in the greenhouse than outside (whatever the type of plant).

I'm in the NW of Ireland, at about the same latitude as Penrith in England

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It's a cool season grass, and the seeds don't require stratification in order to germinate. They'll sprout on their own, when the soil is at ~60-70�F. In a greenhouse, your soil is probably already that warm, so they'll pop in about 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 2:16PM
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Thanks donn!
On my web searches, I found out about warm- and cool-season grasses and the differences between them, but couldn't find out which group this one belongs to.
Is March the ideal month to sow it? I mean for any reasons other than temperature (such as day length).
Does the propagation info apply to all cool-season grasses? (That would be neat, as I want to try some more grasses from seed!).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:30PM
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Hi Fog,

Most cool season grasses do not require stratification. Due to seasonal circumstances, those which self-seed drop their ripe seeds after the soil has cooled below the temperature needed for germination, so they wait until the following warm spell. The month of the year, day length, etc.. really have little bearing. It's all a factor of soil temperature and available moisture. You could start ripe seeds almost any time under glass.

Warm season grasses are much the same. They require higher soil temperatures, so they generally won't start germinating until later in the season.

Thanks for bringing this grass to my attention again. I had them on my want list, but never did anything about it. Jelitto was out of stock on seeds, so I just ordered a flat of plugs from Bluestem.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Thanks for the further info, Donn!

I don't know Jellito (or any other U.S. suppliers) but in case you're interested my Elymus seeds were from the below-mentioned English firm, who do a lot of of obscure things as well as the obvious ones. They ship worldwide with no fuss (or overcharging for postage!). I've got most of my seeds from them for over 30 years (including trees, herbs, vegetables and plants I'd never heard of).
The up-to-date stock's on the website, but I also find their annual paper catalogue interesting. No pictures, just descriptions under botanical names; I always highlight far too many at first! (It's �2, but they send the next one free after an order).

Here is a link that might be useful: Chiltern Seeds

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:13PM
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I don't know what happened there - the catalogue price is two pounds sterling.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Thanks, Fog. I order from Chiltern now and again, but I order from Jelitto (Germany) far more often, so I always have something waiting to be ordered there. They have the broadest assortment of ornamental grass seeds I've seen from any seed house, as well as loads of great perennial seeds. I also love their Gold Nugget seeds, for plants which need cold stratification. They're like Winter Sowing without the fuss.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 3:33PM
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