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Posted by Loretta z6 NJ (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 20, 05 at 9:36

I would like to read your experiences with growing Astrantia. Here is mine.

I had 4 different packs of seed, one bought - pink, one traded for and two collected from name varieties Lars and Claret both on the same day (same age), both dark parents. First off, not knowing ahead of time that these seeds were ephemeral, I waited too long to plant some of these packs so the one bought and the one traded which I had for a year at least, did not germinate. Neither did one of the collected packs. But I did get 6 plants from one. Great. Good enough for me.
Now these plants have gone through two seasons. They hardly put on any size, still just a couple of leaves each. One did flower but it was a tiny, little, nothing, white flower. Now I know things don't come true from hybrids all the time and white would have been OK but it was so insubstantial. I know I have to give these plants more of a chance and perhaps cater to them more, but perhaps I will stick to purchasing this one. What has been your experience.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Astrantia

  • Posted by MorZ8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 20, 05 at 10:00

Might be your climate; according to Armitage, "shade, regular water, best in cool climates, abhor hot humid summers."

In this mild zone, they self seed just short of being a problem - the seedlings will bloom first year and vary in flower color from white to deepest rose. Blooming at such a young age, it's easy to pick and keep those with the flower color wanted. They divide easily in Fall, but as with several plants with short viable seed, I think this is a great candidate for buying a plant, not deadheading, and letting it self sow.

A. Shaggy does not show the same self sowing trait in my garden.

RE: Astrantia

I am sure you are right and it was a drought year here. We definitely have hot humid summers but I have been able to grow other plants with similar descriptions and I did collect the seed locally from some nice looking plants. So I thought I would try.

So tell me, how did your seedlings compare to the original plant? How long do they take to gain some size?

RE: Astrantia

Astrantia is a difficult plant to germinate from seed because it requires a warm-cold-warm cycle and often, the older the seed, the longer the germination period can take. In other words, you may need 2 warm-cold-warm cycles. I don't believe it is considered ephemeral and personally, I've successfully germinated 2 year old seed.

My experience is that the seed germinates best if scarified first and then given a 4 to 8 week warm period followed by a 12 week cold period.

There are several reasons that might have resulted in failure to germinate. The seed may have been sterile (the seed pod was empty) especially if it was collected from hybrids or the warm and cold periods may not have been long enough. By the way, Astrantia Ruby Cloud, Astrantia Rose Symphony, and Astrantia Primadonna are seed strains.

The only time I've had a true hybrid produce viable seed is when it was in close proximity to Astrania major (the species) and I've never seen seed produced by A. Shaggy either. The species reseeds abundantly here in Montreal (similar to a Zone 4B or 5 US) and our summers are also hot and humid but less than New Jersey. Since our growing season is shorter, Astrantia takes between 2 to 3 years to bloom from seed. I grow my plants in partial to 3/4 shade in moist loamy soil.

RE: Astrantia

  • Posted by MorZ8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 21, 05 at 19:19

Loretta, self sown, or seeds harvested and sown immediately, kept moist (late summer to Fall) will germinate in late winter here (cool Z8)- I rarely germinate perennials indoors, place my seed pots outside. Those seedlings will produce a flower stalk or two their first year, giving evidence to the flower color - I'd compare their size at the end of the first gardening season when frost knocks them back to that of perennials normally purchased in 4" pots. Astrantia is very happy here, almost (but not quite) weed like. (Two others that can sometimes give people problems but self seed wildly here are ladies mantle, monkshood. We're often moist, never hot, never truly cold)

RE: Astrantia

I definitely have garden envy of the West coast.

I guess I got the idea it was ephermal because of something I read before I planted. If I recall, I did cycle them in baggies. Slowly I threw out each seed as they rotted. In any case, both Lars and Claret are listed as Astrantia major, really not hybrids. The seed pack was Spring Ballet from Seymours. I think there was one last seed I gave up on in the end.

RE: Astrantia

I am glad to find this post. I too winter sowed Astrantia in 2009 and got nothing, but I just realized (from my records) I kept the container over this last winter. Perhaps I should go check and see if there's anything showing up.

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