Starting bareroot wildflowers indoors

CaraRoseFebruary 27, 2013

Hi all,

I would like to start bareroot wildflowers (trout lilies, Virginia bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpet, and hepatica) indoors this year under lightsand move the plants out in the spring. Is this viable? Will they need stratification?

I'm hoping to grow them in cowpots for easy transplantation later. I'm just not sure if it's viable or not.

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lycopus(z5 NY)

The bluebells might work but the others usually exibit double dormancy. That basically means they need a cold period for the root to start growing, then a growing season, and then another cold period to break the dormancy of the shoot. Of those I have only grown jack in the pulpit from seed and was able to get the shoot to grow after one cold period by applying gibberellic acid but that did not work for Trillium or Maianthemum. Might be better off planting the seeds directly outside and waiting.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Not sure what a cowpot is but my experience w/bareroot is that the plants are usually mature specimens, not seedlings, so it's not as if they would gain extra "growing" time. I think putting them in the ground before their shoots pop up gives their roots a bit time to settle in. What do you hope to gain by starting the bareroots inside? Seems that it would cause the plants more stress to move them when they've already emerged for the Spring season.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:11PM
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Cowpots are a peat-pot like plantable pot, they're just made from processed cow waste. You can plant the pot and not disturb the roots.

I'd like to have physical plants to help me figure out where I'm putting things. Also, since I got these bareroots now, when I can't plant them, I'm not sure if they're going to be happy if I plant them in the spring rather than in the fall when they can overwinter.

Do you think I could mimic stratification by refrigerating them, or is the whole idea a lost cause?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:53PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

For some reason I thought you were starting them from seed. If you have plants you'll want to keep them cold until you plant them in the spring. Optimally they should have been planted out in the fall. Put them in the fridge until the ground has thawed outside and then plant them out. Might only need to wait a few weeks to do that.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:13PM
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direct seeding into beds will work best for this. by a long shot. good luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:51PM
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