Helleborus niger seeds.

nightsunshine(z5 NE Indiana)April 15, 2004

I'm new at flower gardening in general. I purchased niger seeds online from a place in Calif. After reading information here, I'm afraid to start the seeds. Should I wait until July or can I start them now? The directions with the seeds are similar to what I have found on the web, except it says only 2 weeks at 70 degrees and 4 weeks in the frig, then plant in a shady location covered until germination. Says erratic germination over a period of 5-18 months. I'm assuming the 5-18 months covers the warm cold period again if the first treatment fails. I'm guessing I would have been better off buying plants, not seeds. Any help would be appricated.

I'm starting a large woodland garden, it is south facing under very tall trees, the garden will be about 30 feet deep into the woods and about 100 feet long. I have a variety of Hosta already and have started a few things from seed; Foxglove, Baby-blue-eyes, Cleome, Columbine, Campanula and a few hardy Cyclmen. Suggestions would be appreciated. Budget will not allow me to fill the entire area in a season. Starting with seeds helps. The area was just cleared of brush and small trees. I don't want to wait too long, it fills back in on it's own pretty fast.

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Your woodland garden sounds like a great project, one I'd like to do myself....

I haven't sown helleborus seeds that have been stored or allowed to dry, but I have had good results with seed given a warm moist period of at least 40 days, followed by 6 - 8 weeks of moist chill...with germination taking place in the weeks after the chill. A very few seeds surprised me by germinating a full year after the others sown in their group.

The seeds for these are usually thought to have a short viability, I don't see any reason for you to wait until July to sow them. What I can't advise you on, is how your young seedlings will do over your winter...I've never gardened in Z5.

Which brings me to the rest of your garden (and it sounds like you've made a great start already)...I could picture lots of things I would try in a woodland garden here, but I'm stumbling a little on your zone. Astrantia is my longest blooming shade plant; it would be hardy for you (subtle flowers on most though)...it can be a little difficult to start from purchased (stored) seed, but they self seed easily, and seedlings can be moved in Spring to locations of your choosing if you purchased a plant or two this year....that might be a good investment. Epimedium isn't especially easy from seed, but many will spread quickly and can be divided. Cardimine can be pretty in a woodland and those you can start from seed. Heucheras and the candleabra type primroses (i.e. bulleyana) can be grown from seed, some types requiring a chill, the primula will also self seed and provide seedlings for you to fill in other areas....

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 2:26AM
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nightsunshine(z5 NE Indiana)

Thanks for the suggestions, MorZ8. The names aren't familiar to me, but I will look them up. I'll start the Helleborus Niger seeds this week. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I need it. :) I took pictures today of some of the native plants that are blossoming in the woods so I can put a name to them. Of the many things in bloom right now, Trillions are the only one I know. I may be looking for help in identifying some of them.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 10:16PM
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Greenmanplants(UDSA Zone 8)

I hope you have got trillions of trilliums, I'm very glad for the few I have. You might also want to find out some more about growing ferns from spores, they're really very easy and make covering a woodland floor relatively simple. Solomans seals, or the Polygonatums, Uvularias, Smilacinas are also brilliant, but take a while from seed 3+ years to have little seedlings, much easier to get divisions. Erythroniums and woodland lilies, Hostas, Geraniums, Actea, Rogersia, and a host of others.

See if you can get hold of "Ferns for American Gardens" by John Mickel.
"The Explorers Garden" by Dan Hinkley.
"The American Woodland Garden" by Rick Darke.
"Beth Chatto's Woodlan Garden" by Beth Chatto. From the library or wherever for some food for thought.
Plus I'm sure there will be local conservation groups (State Wildflower Society) who will guide you as to potential re-introduction of your local flora.

Good Luck and have fun, Greemanplants

    Bookmark   April 19, 2004 at 5:51AM
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After you do your research, you may want to check out this on line source for plants. They are very reasonable, and reliable.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 6:42AM
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Hi all,

I'm a bit confused here.....u mean to say that niger seeds come from the helleborus plant??.....I had no idea...


    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 9:34AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Carol, you may be confusing black niger or thistle seed commonly fed to birds? Helleborus niger is a very different plant, would in no way be affordable to feed these seeds to wildlife, and if I'm not mistaken, they are toxic anyway...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 9:23PM
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