Despite my resolve to put off starting seeds indoors, thus avoiding daily trudges up and down stairs, I suddenly realized that if I want blooms this year, the lisianthus must be seeded. I’ve only tried growing it once before, with only minimal success. It’s an extremely slow-growing crop that first of all may take 20 days to just germinate, and then takes months from seeding to even reach a transplanting to small pot stage. As a crop, it just didn’t fit into my commercial greenhouse production (temperatures, time, space) well enough to be profitable and by the time it finally looked presentable enough for customers, the main buying season had long passed. However, now that I’m just growing plants and flowers for my own enjoyment and not profit, the catalog photos tempted me to give it another go. Plus one of my goals this year is to actually make at least a weekly bouquet from my rather neglected Cutting Garden and lisianthus is an absolutely gorgeous, VERY long-lasting cut flower.
Of course, once that course was set, there might as well be a full flat of seeds sown, rather than just one row, to help justify plugging in the heating mat. So the seed box and “first seeding” list was carried downstairs, along with the “Indoor Seeding Journal.” Some years, I’ve started seeds as early as November, and one year because of travels, as late as mid-February. This year, the end of January or first of February had been the plan, but the seed-starting bug has bit and the 2021 season is officially launched!
Added to the flat were 1) collected seeds of one of my very favorite perennials, “Gold Moss” feverfew. More about it in an upcoming post. 2) Shasta daisy “Silver Princess,” because I found an old packet of seed in the bottom of a box and want to see if it’s good! 3) Sweet fennel, another outdated packet so if it works, great! If not, there’s plenty of time to plant fresher seed. 4) Hollyhock “White,” saved seed from the one that bloomed under the Lady Cottage windowbox last summer. I need more for the Addition Garden! 5) Gaillardia “Arizona Sun,” again saved seed. I love this plant because it blooms from early summer through to frost if I clip off those cute seed balls. However, it seems to be a short-lived perennial only lasting about 3 years, so I always need to start more. Surprisingly, it does seem to come “true” from saved seed, as I’ve done this for several years. With an early start like this, it will bloom yet this year. 6) Lavender “Blue Spear” finishes up the flat, the seeds having just arrived in the mail in timely fashion!
The feverfew and shasta require light to germinate, so they were planted at one end and a light placed nearby. The rest of the seeds were covered. And suddenly, I find myself looking forward to making that trip downstairs to look for signs of life!