starting natives from seed: how long to bloom

hemnancy(z8 PNW)January 12, 2013

I have had good luck with Agastaches from seed, most even bloomed the first year, especially if planted the previous November, and also Achillea and Aquilegia, but the milkweeds I tried either didn't sprout or I planted them out the first year and they didn't make it through the winter.

Plants I'm considering this year are several Solidago- goldenrods, and Stylophorum. I'd like them to bloom the first year but would be OK to wait until the second year but would like to plant them out and have them make it through the first winter at least. Has anyone grown these from seed? I am tempted to buy at least a few as plants instead since I am counting on these to have a presence in some areas where I have trouble with grass weeds to keep the grasses from growing. Some of the goldenrods form rhizomes and spread well, which I am looking for in some areas. Stylophorum photos impress me as making a nice solid clump that should help with weeds as well.

Any suggestions?


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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

As a rule, perennials don't bloom in their first year of growth - whether native or not. It is my experience that there might be some light blooming in the second year but it isn't until the third year that you can expect more mature size and blooming. The more established the plants become, the better the blooms.

Solidago is nothing I've ever grown from seed. That, asters, and milkweed grow with reckless abandon in any place I'm not actively gardening (and pulling them out of) here. Goldenrod does spread and can crowd out other plants. They are fairly aggressive in my experience, but are beautiful and amazingly hardy.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:57AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Hemnancy, I don't know about Stylophorum, but I've started about a half dozen species of Solidago from seed. This includes S. speciosa, S. flexicaulis, S. rigida, S. caesia, and S. nemoralis. Most of these species don't bloom until the 2nd year, but I did get a small bloom on one of the S. caesia seedlings the first year.

I agree with Fata that they don't reach a mature size until about the 3rd year, and they just get bigger after that.

Apparently some goldenrods are clumping and some are spreading. All of the species I've started from seed are clumping. I also have wild S. rugosa and S. canadensis growing in the yard. The most common and aggressive by far in this region is S. canadensis. It can hold its own against most weeds.

Are there common aggressive species that grow on the west coast where you live? Maybe you could transplant a few clumps.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:36PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

terrene- I'm not aware of any wild Goldenrods here. Which of yours do you like the best? How do you like S. nemoralis vs S. speciosa? Do they spread well? I don't water some areas of my yard in the summer so I need to have some that do well in dry conditions. Also, do you have deer in your yard? I have deer and the info on deer resistance makes it hard to predict if I will have a problem. I am really interested in S. odora, but have trouble finding a source for the plants, and none for the seeds. I'm interested in them as a tea plant, but maybe Agastaches would also do for an anise-flavored tea, I just started some seeds for S. Gold Baby, I'll see how they do.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:23AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oh forgot I also have a wild S. juncea too (early Goldenrod) which blooms earlier than the other goldenrods.

I like all of them, but think that S. speciosa is the prettiest. Except mine are floppy because they're not in full sun, of which I have very little in this yard. S. nemoralis also likes full sun, but mine is doing okay in part sun.

S. caesia is my 2nd favorite, with those pretty purply stems, and it grows in dry shade, a big plus when you have lots of big trees!

None of these are super aggressive as they grow in clumps that just get bigger, but don't spread by rhizomes. I have a few deer and the only one they have munched on (that I've noticed) is S. caesia. But they just munch the tips and this one actually does well with some pinching.

If you're looking for deer resistance and aggressive spreading, including reseeding, then go for S. canadensis! It's coarse plant though. I think that Solidago gigantea is another large aggressive spreader. Both of those are native to your area too.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:15PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oh, all of them have been exceedingly easy to start from seed, via winter-sowing, and they sprout early. Also, my experience is that this genus is self-sterile, and requires cross-pollination to produce fertile seed. So if you want them to seed around, you need two genetically different individuals.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:17PM
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