Saving annual candytuft seed and preparing for sowing
I have sown some cheap dollar store annual candytuft. All of them germinated and I got some pretty nice flowers from the plants. Three of them survived my zone 5 cold winter! So, this spring, they were back! I thought these three plants probably had strong genes, because not only did they grow anew, they actually became two-foot monsters with profuse flowers.
So, I decided to save their seed. I have already harvested the seed heads and went through the painstaking operation of extracting them from the pods. So far, so good.
Now, I am trying to find out how I should sow them and what I need to do to them so they germinate next spring. I have observed that the seed dropped by the flowers last fall germinated on its own this spring and thus I got a bunch of volunteers. This leads me to think that it may be a good idea to sow them around the first frost and just leave them to their own devices. I also thought about keeping them in the fridge for a time.
I found lots of information on seed stratification for perennial candytuft, but none for annual candytuft. Can somebody enlighten me on this?
For your information, I plan to perpetuate these by saving seeds each year and sowing anew. I don't want to waste any of this seed on trials that end up failing as I really think these seeds are perfectly adapted to my microclimate. Why buy new seed when I have seed that has already succeeded in my garden?