Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) from seed

leaveswave(.)July 24, 2007

I saved seeds from last year and germinated them this year. I got a late start, but there are tiny seedlings over the whole tray. Trouble is, these guys are about the size of the head of a pin and have been that way for several weeks!

Is this plant that slow to grow? What could I do to encourage them to grow more/faster?

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You started a little late, I think. All you can do is keep 'em moist and every couple of weeks give them light fertilizer. I did this several years ago, with germination late March or early April, and, if I remember correctly, got plants big enough to set out by midsummer, about four months later. Your problem is that this would bring you to October or November, and you're in Minnesota.

What you need to do is figure out how to winter them over. I've never been any good at this, but Bill Cullina in his Wildflower book for the New England Wild Flower Society says he puts flats, or potted up plants, in a cold frame covered with a sheet of insulation for the winter. I'd put the frame in a sheltered place and pray; snow would be good. You might check out Cullina's book, available on the web, I think, from

Maybe others have more experience or better ideas.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 3:20PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

All my winter sowing was stunted this year and I wasn't able to use hardly any of it. I don't know what the trouble was and it wasn't late start b/c I put mine out the first of February. The beebalm and other perennials I started by wintersowing are still only 1 and a half inches in height. I'm going to just put them in a protected area for over the fall and winter and see if any return next spring. This was my final year for winter sowing. I've never had a good return and this year I did both winter sowing and then also did seed-starts inside the house and the indoor seed-starts were 5x+ larger than the winter sown stuff after only a month.

I sowed Bottle Gentian right into the ground but that was this spring so most of the seed will likely lay dormant until next spring because it hasn't been cold stratified yet.

I would take a spatula and put your little seedlings right into the ground now and see how much they can get established before winter sets in. Using a spatula and taking up large pieces of your flat of gentian will be the least stressful to the already stressed plants. Really loosen up the soil where you are going to lay the plants and then give the soil a good watering before you lay down the spatulas of seedlings/soil. Wait a day and then water them lightly as needed.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 7:22PM
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