Saving annual candytuft seed and preparing for sowing

viktoria5August 11, 2010

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?

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Lots to answer : )
First it is great you want to save the seeds. Lots of out there do the same.
Second, on saving the seeds, it should of been fairly easy to shake/rub them out of the dead flower head. So you have me worried that you did not wait long enough before harvesting, but maybe I'm wrong. On the link below, it shows an old flower head with ripe seed. If you did pic them too soon, just wait longer on the next batch.
Third, you do not need to store them in the fridge. It an envelope in a cool dry dark spot is fine.
Fourth, they do not need cold stratification to germinate so you can sow them in the spring or in the fall. If they came back good for you in that spot and it is the same spot you wish to have them in next year, sowing in the fall is fine.
In case of some kind of failure though, it is always a good idea to hold onto some of the seeds so you can resow in spring if need be. Winter Sowing in containers is also always an option.
Hope this helps,

Here is a link that might be useful: Annual Candytuft Page on The Seed Site

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 10:19PM
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