Thursday, 11 October 2012

Growing From Seed - A Passion

I've been going a little mad seed wise of late! I see something that I fancy, track the seeds down and then order three or four more packets from the range to make the postage worthwhile! It's a passion! It's not just a cheap way of getting your hands on a wide range of plants - it's as much to do with making your garden your own work. It's easy to buy a plant, but growing it from seed takes that bit more effort.

It's not as if I don't have enough seedlings to care for already. "Projects" on the go already include Anigozanthos manglesii and viridis, Bauhinia variegata, Iris chrysographs and best of all, Cubanola domingensis................
All the above came from Chiltern Seeds. One of the finest seed suppliers in the UK! An incredible range of interesting and/or rare plant seed, backed up by excellent service.

I also spent some time today pricking out tiny Tricyrtis lasiocarpa seedlings. Seed was sent to me from a forum acquaintance who I've lost contact with, so if you're reading this Pims get in touch!

Plant World Seeds is another excellent source of seed. Amongst the treasures I've had from them in the past is my Bomarea hirtella. From my most recent batch I have already sown the Lobelia bridgesii which are now germinating.
Lobelia are suitable for late sowing in my opinion, as what I'm after is good rootstock by the spring for planting out. If they get leggy it's of no concern - cut the lanky stems off and new shoots emerge. I've grown all my perennial Lobelia like this for years with great results. Today saw the L.excelsa and polyphylla seeds sown too - these will benefit from being outdoors during the first light frosts of the British autumn.They can then be bought indoors to a windowsill in one of my cooler rooms and should start germinating (that's the theory at least). L.bridgesii sown a couple of weeks ago are germinating already and will need pricking out sooner than I had expected.
But best of all, I now have seeds for L.gibberoa! It's a totally impractical proposition here in the UK growing as it does (rather huge and intolerant of frost) and as such will almost certainly never bloom for me, but I had to have a giant Lobelia.

Lobelia seeds tend to need to be fairly fresh. There are many plants whose seed become less viable with age rather quickly. So if you've ever failed  to germinate Bomarea, Lapageria, Rhodochiton or Tacca (to name but a few) do not feel to bad - the seed was probably too old (which is my standard excuse).

Seeds are a great way to swap plants too. Two of my favourite seed grown plants this year came from forum swaps.
Cerinthe palestina................

And Fuchsia procumbens....................

If you have interesting seed and fancy a swap, leave a comment.


  1. Nice post. I'm also addicted to growing plants from seed, and in a few months it will be seed catalogue time again!

    How do you get on with Fuchsia procumbens? Do you treat it as an annual? I quite fancy having a try...

  2. Who do you use for seeds Ben?

    It's my first year with F.procumbens, but I know of people in Scotland who find it hardy. As mine are less than a year old from seed they'll be in the coldframe and shed this year. Very easy from seed.

  3. Thanks for the advice re. Fushia procumbens, I think that is one for me to try, it has such unusual flowers.

    I've used various seed companies I suppose, including Chilterns and Plant World Seeds, but it does depend on what I'm looking at looking for. Rare Palm Seeds offer an interesting selection of plants (not just palms!).