I fell in love with a whole range of Astrantia during my caretaker role as Estate manager for a prestigious London country estate.Durable and long flowering these tough sun/shade loving range of perennials have been selected for their large flowers, their masses of flowering stems and colour diversity, making them a perfect addition to formal or informal displays.
Astrantia major was introduced to the British Isles in the 16th century and is now established in various UK gardens and parks. It’s natural habitat is mountain meadows, grasslands, forests, clearings and often beside streams. A number of varieties of Astrantia are in commercial production and named varieties are often available from specialist nurseries and growers.
Sow fresh seed or pre-chill – Start by sowing a few seeds in spring in a greenhouse or light windowsill. As you provide warmer temps of 15-20C and keep damp but not wet in a light window or glasshouse propagator.
Germination can take anything from 30-365 days but is well worth the wait.
Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual 9cm square pots (saves on space).
Grow them on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
You can start perennial seeds in either late summer or fall, indoors in the spring, or direct seed in the spring.
Sowing in late summer or autumn will give your plants a head start on the following season. They will have all winter to continue growing roots and they will be ready to bloom the following year. However they may need some winter protection.
When starting seedlings indoors, treat them like any other seed and move them outside, after your last frost date. Harden them off, before planting.
Direct seed plants that don’t like having their roots disturbed, like poppies, or seeds that need a period of cold to germinate, like Lupines, in early spring. Be sure to mark the spot, so you don’t think they’re weeds, and keep the area moist while the tiny seedlings mature.
If you have the space, perennial seedlings can be kept in a separate nursery bed, where you can keep an eye on them and pamper as necessary. At the start of their second year, you can move them to a permanent spot in the garden… and start all over again with new seedlings.
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Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“
iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.