Seed Starting Tips: Soaking and Stratification for Better Flower Seed Germination

It’s nearly October, and that means one very important thing – it’s time to begin preparing for the spring garden. While I know it seems somewhat odd to start preparations this soon, it’s actual crucial in terms of creating the best garden possible. After all, now is the time to start planting fall flowering bulbs, planting biennial flowers, and sowing hardy annual flowers.

Many hardy annual and biennial flowers are unique in their ability to grow well during the coolest portions of the growing season. This is especially surprising here in zone 6b/7. I feel that my garden receives fairly cold temperatures in the winter, so I’m always surprised to see any green growth out in the yard during this part of the year. With their preference for cooler weather, it is easy to understand why some seeds may need special treatment to break dormancy and begin the germination process.

One of the most common methods I use is soaking the seeds. Soaking the seeds is especially helpful for hard, round seeds such as sweet peas. Without soaking, ornamental sweet pea seeds planted in my garden have a poor germination rate. Since the soaking speeds the germination process, this also reduces the likelihood that the seeds will be eaten by rodents or begin to rot. I like to soak these in tap water over night. The amount of time needed for soaking with definitely vary depending upon what type of flower seed that you’re sowing. It’s always best not to soak the seeds for too long, as this will negatively impact the germination process.

With most all my hardy annual flower seeds, I also make certain to place the seed packets into the fridge for at least two weeks before sowing. While this is not necessary for all hardy annual flower seeds in the cut flower garden, I personally like to do it. Certain types of seed like stock, snapdragon, and scabiosa really seem to benefit from the exposure to cold temperatures. Larkspur isĀ  yet another seed that demands cold treatment in my garden. If you’re interested in whether a specific types needs cold treatment or not, I totally suggest checking out the growing guides on our YouTube channel.

Last, but not least, one of our fall bulb orders has finally arrived! I’ve got so many cool and unique tulip and ranunculus varieties planned this year. Hopefully, we’ll have an excellent season and vases filled with blooms next spring. That’s it for this post. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and for supporting FRESHCUTKY! I hope you’re having an amazing day!

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