advice on salvia from seed

tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)September 16, 2006


I'm new to salvias this year but not to gardening. I don't know why, I just never got any salvias before.

Anyway, I picked up a Van Houttei from a local nursery to use in a container and I love it. I managed to get quite a few seeds today. I grow almost all my annuals from seed. Will this salvia come true from seed? And, if so, is it difficult to grow from seed? How many weeks early can I start them indoors?

Thank you so much!

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Most salvias are easy to germinate from seed,the vanhouttii may throw different colours, not sure.The only thing you have to remember about salvia seed is that they need to be surfaced sowed, they need light to germinate. Depending on the salvia species, germination can take days to weeks.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 9:31PM
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I'm just wondering how long you should wait before sowing fresh salvia seeds?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:08AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Vanhouttei seeds often come up as orange sports. Make sure you have dark brown, oval shaped seeds free of mold and other ovary parts like the gynobase that the seeds grow on.

Seeds germinate in 5 to 15 days and may be covered with some finely milled spaghnum. They definitely do not need to be naked on the seed flat.

I usually let fresh seed fully dry and ripen for 2 weeks before sowing. Some seeds can germinate as soon as they get as dark as possible. This is especially true for the subtropical species like coccinea.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 12:14PM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

Thank you all so much. I'm having so much fun gathering seeds from the salvia. There's a ton more flowers so I hope to get more seeds before frost. Which leads me to another question. Since my salvias are in pots, is there any way for me to overwinter them in my garage or unheated sunroom? I'm not sure if it freezes out there or not.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 3:19PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Hey Julie,
I am just down the road from you in N. Tonawanda. I sow my salvia seeds in late Feb./early March. My garage is unheated and detached from the house so it gets too cold for my salvias to survive. If you garage is attached to the house you have a better chance of keeping the potted ones alive by placing them up next to the house side of the garage. I have to bring my potted salvias inside if I want to overwinter them or else I take cuttings which I am doing right now. So far I have cuttings rooting of my 'Black & Blues', 'Van Remsen', `Raspberry Truffle', a Teresa sport, a Black & Blue sport, 'Purple Majesty' and Salvia subrotunda. I may even do a few cuttings of coccinea just to see if I can have some ready to bloom by spring. Feel free to contact me directly. I am having some internet issues right now since Time Warner took over so my internet access has been on and off so I haven't been able to post much on the forums.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 8:23AM
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Bringing this back up. Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 11:54AM
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You should also keep your seeds chilled in the fridge untill you are ready to sow, but you probably already know that right?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 2:06PM
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All this time I thought seeds in Salvia needed light to germinate. Learn something new every day. Great!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Alright Rich Explain-- In every other article on growing salvia from seed, the main thing it stresses is surface sow and light are needed to germinate. Now you say lightly cover is fine, which would mean they dont need light to germ. So far I have used light and they germed in 4-5 days. So what with the covering issue?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 3:42PM
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Julie, I have been growing scarlet sage since the last week of Nov. as a trial. Its been doing pretty well, but noticed yesterday after a full nights sleep for the flowers that the leaves were really droopy and started to wrinkle, so I sprinkled a few grains "Peters" african violet food that I had in a mister and gave the two plants a good soaking so it would get down to roots and today they are standing tall , looking healthy and vibrant. So you see if you pay attention they will tell you what they need. Mind you Im quite aware that salvias dont require much water and dont like wet feet, but they do need nutrients on occasion.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 12:17PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I use milled fresh sphagnum to just cover the seed. When the glutinous seed coat swells, the seed pokes out, but enough sphagnum sticks to the side to keep the seed moist. If the sphagnum turns light tan, it indicates dryness, so then the surface must be misted. This technique allows close control of moisture on the surface of the seed and also is helpful to show molding at an early stage. Some quick surgery will keep the mold from spreading and ruining the whole seedling patch.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 11:27PM
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Well guys Im not sure about this light thing. Ive had them germ in surface sow method and Ive also used the paper towel method in a baggie and they dont get much light in that method if any but they still germed in that and even the difficult subrotunda germed in 5days using the paper towel method , so sustained moisture is maybe the biggest issue for germination.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:40AM
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I surface sow my salvias in the spring and mist them daily.

I don't remember chilling my Salvia Blue Bedders or Salvia Victoria last year and had no trouble with germination on both last spring. Do some Salvias need a cold chill before they germinate? Thanks


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:15PM
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I've surface sowed and just covered seed and both methods seem to work just fine - the smaller the seed the more likely I am to use the former. In either case I cover the the seeding tray with clear plastic which stays on only long enough for most of the seeds to set their sun leaves. You have to keep the plastic just off the surfaces of the medium or the sprouting seeds will stick to it.

I've only grown a dozen or so Salvia species for seed so I'm far from an authority. Most of the species I've tried, at least the long-daylight bloomers seem to require no chilling. Freshly dropped seeds from species like coccinea and subrotunda sprout very quickly in mid summer.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:26PM
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ramazz(8a VA)

Hi, Carrie. I am no expert, either. BUT I have found that some of the salvia that come from countries with a cold winter seem to require a cold period. I am trying wintersowing for a couple of mine that won't germinate very well inside. These are forsskaolii, verticillata and glutinosa. The salvia that are from Mexico obviously do not need a cold period.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:41PM
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