Nasturtiums again (sigh, yawn!!)

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)May 13, 2011

Hello everyone: We have been over this subject so many times, but this year again, I am having trouble. I soaked my seeds, put them out April 30 (it was quite warm and still is) and two weeks later, nothing. Not even a little sprout and we have been having high temps all week. I grow these every year and most of the time I direct sow them and see nothing of them until the fall comes. However, I seem to forget my experiences and follow the same procedure. There was one year I had excellent results with seeds for "Alaska", with a variegated leaf, which did beautifully for me in a hanging basket. I planted them out in late April and they were all up by May 4. I got those seeds in a trade so they were 'fresh'. I wonder if that makes the difference. Are those purchased seeds old? I do remember once buying a plant at my son's grade school plant sale and overwintering it in a pot. When I went to put it in the ground in Spring, there was a Nasturtium growing in it. Obviously the seed had come along with the plant and germinated over winter. So perhaps we should 'fully' winter sow them - in Feb/March. Has anyone done this? I have two varieties this year - one border plant and one climber and I have plans for them. I am re-doing most of my beds and I find it so frustrating when something as simple as Nasturtiums fail. Sorry, but I am so angry, that I need to vent a little. I hate buying plants like that from nurseries, but it seems I'll have to. Would it make sense to refrigerate them for a bit? Thanks for listening.


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I wasn't paying attention and I WS/d Nasturtiums along with everything else (in 1L bottles) in February. I had very good success with everything else (cilantro, dill, cosmos, snapdragon, poppy, Black eyed susan, BES vine, Morning Glory, basil, etc--that sort of thing). Not a sprout in the Nasturtium bottle.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:04AM
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I DS's mine 8 days ago. I got 4 sprouts. I'm thinking maybe they are selling sterile seeds and don't know it? I usually have no trouble with them? I got low germation on the 4 o'clocks as well.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:49PM
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I usually direct sow nasturtiums around mid May and I get sprouts on the 10th day.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 12:03AM
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kiskin (5/6 in EU)(5/6 in EU)

I have wintersowed nasturtium seeds with great success for 3 years now. In my zone, I sow them at the end of March and they germinate in the first half of May. As I love moon phase gardening, I try to sow N seeds in waxing Gemini or Libra... :) I have usually 85% germination, even with the old seeds.

I use a TP-roll method. I fold the TP rolls twice, so that they are square-shaped (so they fit better inside the sweater boxes); stuff them with wet compost and plant 2 seeds per TP roll. It is important not to let them dry out.
When I plant the seedlings I usually peel off the cardboard.

My absolute favourites are Cherry Rose nasturtiums in an unusual deep pink colour.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 3:50AM
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started_with_bean(Zone 5--MA)

Did you bury the seeds, the depth about twice their diameter or so? If you just let them sit on top of the soil, it won't work, since the bigger seeds need burying to keep them moist.

I say, it's early enough in the season, and since the seeds are big, dig them out of the WS container, and just direct sow them, especially if the temps have been warm. I direct sowed mine about a month ago (no soaking), and have 80% germination on 3 year old seeds I got at some garden club event. They've got their first set of true leaves, but they've been growing slowly, as we haven't had much sun last week and now we're getting rain all this week.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:31PM
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What's the best mounding variety? My Empress of India is small. :(

What about the best trailing variety?


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:35PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I usually sow two 'garden-type' varieties: Tall Climbing Mix by Mckenzie which goes crazy in the fall and Jewel Mixed, which is supposed to be a mounding container variety. However, I find they all sprawl in the early fall and that's when they bloom well. One year I grew Alaska, which was a beautiful trailing variety and did well in a hanging basket.

Kiskin, from your description, I think perhaps they do best in the late winter when there is still a risk of frost. I have never had good germination rates when I direct sowed when it's warmed up. Last year I gave up on them all and then they appeared in the early fall with lots of leaves and few flowers. I have saved your directions for next year, and that Cherry colour sounds wonderful.

'Started_with' my seeds were well-sown, but I had a similar idea. Today, after a full night of rain and cooler temps. I emptied my two containers (uncovered since early last week) and found only one seed had germinated. They had been soaked for a couple of days indoors. So I have now soaked two sets, and find that several are floaters. Is is really true that 'good' seed sinks? I plan to try to germinate these using the 'coffee filters soaked in weak tea' method, with at least 24 hours in the refrigertor, which is rumoured to soften the seed coat, and see what works. It's time to get on with my outdoor stuff. I am collecting re-seeded seedlings in small cell-packs - an idea I got from one of Dave's posters - before I start my weeding. It's rather interesting what one's eye can recognize when trained to. The wild violets need another good attack this year. Don't think I'll ever get rid of them, but at least they will be manageable.

Thanks for posting everyone.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 3:45AM
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I have two areas I direct sow Nasties in every year. One spot gets "alaska" and always does well...but this year the germination is slow - maybe 10 seeds out of 40+ have germinated. I think that it's because it just has not warmed up here at all yet.

My other favorite is "mahogany" which I direct sow along the edge of the path leading up to our house. No germination at all so far this year, and the seeds have been in over 20 days - - getting worried. I count on these nasties to provide a low, full colorful edge all summer. We'll see - - -not panicing yet!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Thanks for the inputs!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 12:06PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I got very excited today when I saw a shoot rising from the container with my tall climbing mix. I had left the containers open since the weekend, and it has been raining every day and it is quite cold, so they were very wet. I dug around in the container and found that all the seeds save one were sprouting. So I washed that seed and re-sowed it. I did the same thing with the container of the Jewel mix, and none of them had the slightest indication of a root. I took them all out, washed the seed, noticed that they all sank, and I replanted them. I wonder if all the Jewel seeds are duds. Meanwhile, I have another two sets in the refrigerator wrapped in tea-soaked coffee filters. Think I'll leave them there for another few days. It's supposed to loosen the seed coat.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 4:10AM
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We finally got a good rain. Walla! The nasturims are popping up like crazy. I believe it was the tempature.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 5:19PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Ladyrose, same here!!! I guess it has to be the right combination of moisture and temperature. We have had rain and fully overcast skies with low temperatures for the past six days and today, although a bit overcast in the morning, had a bit more warmth and my tall climbing nasturtiums were up, and my Four O'clocks which had been just as stubborn. I potted up my refrigerated seeds outdoors today so I'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 2:25AM
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