A feel-good story...and a question

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)May 26, 2011

I love anything that looks like a daisy and for several years I planted Shasta Daisies - Alaska, but disliked them because they got too tall and flopped and had to be staked. After trying to get trades of Snow Lady for two years I was prepared to purchase commercial seeds this year, until I saw Aimer's ad. for 'White Knight': it was described as beter than Snow lady because of increased disease resistance and more flowers per stem. So I forked out the $2.95 for the packet, to find a small vacuum packed, plastic lined foil envelope inside. It contained only 9 seeds!! I went ahead and winter sowed them, as I would any perennial and got only 1 seedling!! I was crushed - so disappointed that I would have a empty space again this year, that I went to their website to see if there was any additional information about this plant. Before leaving the site I saw a link called 'Contact Us' and so I did. I told them of my experience, but I did not berate them. I told them I was very disappointed, and expected that such expensive seeds would be viable. I cautioned them to be more vigilant when selecting their seed suppliers. Of course I also confirmed that I was not a 'newbie' with respect to growing perennials from seed. About two weeks later I received a seed envelope with an OSC label on it. I was puzzled because I had no outstanding seed orders, but I opened to find - you guessed it - two packets of White Knight seeds!! There was no note or invoice - just the seeds. So the goodly folk at OSC (Aimer's banner flies under OSC) decided to replace my seeds - and double them. What a lovely gesture!! But now here is my question. For years I had been buying perennial seeds, sowing them as directed on the packet, and getting no germination. Then I met a gentleman who owned a mail-order seed company who told me about perennials needing a freeze period to germinate. Now the directions on these seeds are to sow indoors in March at 15 degrees C and grow on under lights. Should I do this? Will it work? Have they pre-chilled the seed? I wonder why seed companies put out perennial seeds and never tell gardeners about the cold period required. Why do they give these directions that never work? What would you do if you had these two packets of seeds? How would you sow them? These are very precious, and I want to be safe, not sorry. Thanks in advance.


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I winter sowed 'Snow Lady' Shasta daisy seeds and thus far have zero germination. I winter sowed Shasta daisy seeds I harvested from a neighbor's mature plant and got very low germination. I can't say for certain it's due to the unusually cold spring weather we've had but that's my best guess. I checked Diane's Flower Seeds' website and her instructions for growing Shasta daisies from seed are to start them indoors and there's no mention of a cold period. I'm not giving up on my 'Snow Lady' containers just yet since the weather has finally warmed slightly.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:35AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Northerner, very few perennials need to 'freeze', or I wouldn't have many grown from seed - and I do ;-)
Not all even need the moist chill but of those I've sown over the years, more do than don't.

If your seeds had been pretreated or chilled, they would have been sent moist packed because allowing the seed to dry out again once water has breached the seed coat means death to the seed. Chilled dry, shipped dry, is only storage,it does nothing to break dormancy.

According to Clothiers site, these shouldn't need a moist chill. If you wanted to experiment, you could always prepare on container and put that in the fridge for a couple of weeks (40ish is cold enough), sow the rest without the chill. Or, sow and if they don't germinate in about 3 weeks max, chill them for a couple of weeks and bring them back out.

The typical suggestion for Shastas is 68F, surface sown or barely covered - no pretreatment. Let us know!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Northerner my favorite flower is a daisy or any type of daisy. Shasta daisy use to be a flower that I really researched out, did you know there is 150 different types of shasta daisy that luther burbank created?? I know that is totally irrelevant but I just had to throw that out there cause most do not realize there is that many different varieties of the plant.

Anywho after falling in love with the shasta daisy white knight many years ago and purchasing seed and actually getting germination I was sadly disappointed the second year. Ended up that it was nothing like the white knight I had read about and it looked more like the alaska version. Well after more reading I found a website that actually listed the white knight as an f1 hybrid. Now I do not remember what website I read that on and I do not know if it is true, but it could explain why you had low germination and why I had an alaska look alike.

How I actually started my seeds were actually direct sown. I direct sowed them in my unamended clay soil in full sun. I had pretty good germination, I did not do a cold treatment prior.

Northener I have currently of the shasta daisy collection, silver princess, alaska, becky, and snow lady. My favorite of the ones I have grown is the becky. She does not flop, she has a long bloom period and she is evergreen here. I plant her anywhere in my yard regardless of shade or full sun and I get great results. The blooms are about 3" in diameter, and they make a great cut flower. I have never had a problem with disease or pest and I am the type of person that hates to drag out a hose so I rarely water so she is also drought resistant.

Currently I have a clump that I can dig up that is not budded yet that I would be more than happy to send to you for postage. That is if you are interested. Just email me and we can discuss that further if you want.

Oh and after I found that out about the white knight either last year or the year before, I tended to lose interest in the shasta daisy. I just decided I have good faithful becky and I am happy. Now if someone offered me a clump of broadway lights or sunny side up I would probably be on that like gum on the bottom of a shoe, lol.

Here is becky!

Here is silver princess!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:33PM
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I forgot to say I also started my shasta seeds in the heat of summer in full sun.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:27PM
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