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Self-seeding annuals for WI

Posted by greenthumbon1hand 4 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 21:14


Has anyone had experience with self-seeding annuals in WI? What would you recommend, and are there any varieties that I shouldn't touch with a 10 ft. pole? I've got a lot of ground to cover (I've been gardening strictly with perennials), and I am going for a cottage garden look.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

Annual Rudbeckia does well in Michigan. It both re seeds, and it will often survive the winter and those plants produce earlier blooms. Verbena Boniarensis is a non-native annual that is considered invasive due to re seeding, but it is loved by beneficial pollinators. I grow it, but dead head carefully to prevent spread. There are some monardas that I treat as annuals, citriodora and punctata. Both of them can also re seed, if you don't use mulch. Hopefully others will have more suggestions.


RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

Hi Greenthumb and welcome to GardenWeb!

Well, I think most Cosmos will self-seed. Personally, I grow the cosmic (red, yellow, and orange) cultivars and they're very heavy self-seeders. I live in Missouri but I'm sure they would self-seed in Wisconsin as well. They usually grow only about 16 or 18 inches tall and not quite as wide in my garden.


RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

and lets leave aside the perennial/annual debate ...

many plants that i grow in MI .. as self seeding annuals are actually warm zone perennials... and thats all you have to know on that ... at this point in time ...

things that reseed for me include:

morning glory
rose campion
johnny jump ups 4 o'clocks
white alyssum
califoonia poppy
for get me nots

and lots and lots of weeds.. that other nuts call natives.. lol ... you dont want those.. IMHO ....

highlight the common name i gave .. and find the latin name.. and then use the latin name to do your research ....

if there is a trading forum.. you might get some of all of these.. for a stamp ...


RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

I could send you Rose Campion, larkspur, Verbena Boniarensis, Monardas, and Morning Glories.


RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

now.. the trick is.. NOT WEEDING THEM OUT AS BABES IN SPRING.. lol ...

been there .. done that ...

what i recommend.. is that you plant a few in say.. a one foot circle.. then pick up a one foot stick from the lawn ... and simply stick the stick on the center of the spot..

if nothing else... in spring.. the sticks tells you.. you put something there .... and sooner or later the flower will tell you what ...

the whole point of wanting self sowers.. is that they are winter hardy .. and they can be planted NOW.. i have shoe boxes full of decade old seed in the garage... lol.. that i never remembered to plant in spring .... this isnt a wait till spring thing ...

ask if you dont know how to sow the seed... when they self disburse the seed... they do not bury it ... but to avoid vermin ... winged rats and the like.. a little dusting of soil will hide them from our ravenous friends ... but too deep.. and they wont sprout.. many of these type of seeds actually need light to germinate ....

finally in spring.. when they are at the second leaf set stage.. with a hand trowel.. they can be moved around.. out of the one foot circle.. a rainy. damp.. ugly day is best .... to avoid significant shock ....

and finally .... again??? .. plant half.. save half... in case of some late hard frost killing tender babes ... then you can sow the extra ....

good luck


RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

Thanks everyone!

Martha - thanks for the offer, I actually have several of those plants growing now :) I'm a little hesitant on trying the verbena due to its invasive tendencies, but I'm also tempted due to its attractiveness to butterflies....

Ken - thanks for the list! From what I've read online, several people have had success with these as well

I've tried CA poppies, but they never seem to do well for me. I don't know if it's because the soil needs to be amended with more sand (we have clay here and we amend with builders sand, top soil and compost), or if it's because they rot in the springtime due to snow melt.

A few others that I have in mind are Meconopsis cambrica and spotted jewelweed (although I'm worried that it'll take over the beds, but it is native to this area). Has anyone had any experience with these?

RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

You might like flax (Linum,) Silene.

I've not had Impatiens capensis but I. balsamina are so easy to kill by stepping on, can't imagine it taking over anywhere I can walk or reach.

If you're trying to attract butterflies, Zinnia and Basil flowers are great, though you may need to buy new seeds each year.

I would stick to the compost, leaves, mulch, any organic matter you can get your hands on that looks 'mulchy' can go right on beds in moderate amounts. If you have a ton of something, you may want to compost it first, or at let it age in a pile for winter. Adding organic matter to the soil surface will improve the tilth, fertility, moisture moderation. Adding sand to clay can yield concrete if/when it dries out.

RE: Self-seeding annuals for WI

Add wallflower, bachelor buttons and nigella to the list. Here they germinate in fall, winter over and bloom in spring. Surface sow the california poppies in loose soil in fall or late winter. They bloom in cool weather of spring and put out fresh growth in fall for another bloom up north.

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