Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sowing Amsonia


Though easy to grow, this plant is rarely to be seen in the gardens; in Croatia probably not at all. As I love to try growing something new each season, I have ordered the package of Amsonia too.
This is a hardy perennial wild plant coming from America (New Jersey to Tennessee to Texas) growing on the river banks and wooded areas. Plants prefer full sun or partial shade and fertile soil. They look good in wild/natural gardens grouped in 3-5-7 plants together in  mixed borders and flower beds. It blooms in May and June, baring clusters of star-like blue flowers on the top of the stems. Additional attraction is foliage that turns yellow in Autumn.

I sow so early ( end of December and January) only the plants that germinate slow or need some special treatment such as period of chilling. In the case of Amsonia, both of it is valid.

Prior to sowing, I kept the seed in the water for a  few hours. There was about 30 seeds in the package. I use plastic containers or trays to sow the seeds. For this small amount of seed I used plastic containers. These are used to pack meat I buy in the supermarket. They come in various size, and I always keep them for gardening purpose. I made holes on the bottom of one container with a hot nail.

Te container is then filled with peat-based compost and moistened well. This bottle top rose is ingenious - you can slowly water the compost without being splashed out of the container.

Amsonia seeds need light to germinate so, I simply placed the seeds on the moist compost. Label is a must, especially if you are going to sow many seeds later. Believe me, you won't be able to remember which is which. At least, until it germinates. I usually write the name and the date on the label.

I used another container of the same size to cover the seeds and keep the moisture inside. The container will be placed on bright place e.g. window sill at 15 - 18°C for three weeks.

Then the container goes in a refrigerator for 5 - 6 weeks, after which it returns to 15- 18°C. The compost has to be kept moist at all times.
The seeds of some species need chilling period to break the dormancy, which is the case with Amsonia.


  1. Have you ever tried to grow a Himalayan Blue Poppy? I have been wanting that plant for a couple of years now. Last year I finally got some seeds. The germinating process is very similar to this. I had no luck germinating them though. Maybe I'll try again this year.

    Thanks for the informative post.

  2. Robin,pre-chill seed for 3 weeks. Sow in winter or early spring in good free draining seed compost covering the seed with a light sprinkling of compost. Place out of doors in a coldframe or sheltered spot. Keep compost moist, protect from heavy rain but not from frost which is beneficial. Leave for about five weeks then bring into warmth of 13-18C (55-65P).
    At two-leaf stage transplant seedlings to 8cm (3in) pots. Keep shaded from strong sunlight. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions and plant out when well established into deep, moist loam in sheltered semi-shaded position, spacing the plants 46-60cm (18-24in) each way.Good luck!

  3. thank you for this post...happy new year!

  4. Interesting post, I never thought of using those-very abundant, plastic containers for seed germinating! Thanks for sharing :)


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