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  • Growing Season: Annual
  • Plant Type: Flower

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Gardening Tips

Alternanthera Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:6”-8”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination:7-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Alternanthera dentata. Start transplants indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Sow seeds on top of sterile starter mix, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light is needed for germination. Pamper with 65°-75°F temperatures, good air circulation, strong light and even moisture. Do not allow the seedlings to wilt or dry out. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into larger, deeper pots for full root system development. After all danger of frost has passed, harden them off by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over 7 to 10 days. Transplant out 12" apart in rich, moist, well-draining soil and full to partial sunlight. Prized for its mounding, shiny, deep purple foliage, Alternanthera is perfect in lush, combination containers. Summer leafing. Height: 16" to 20".
Alyssum Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:0”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:4”-5”
Days to Germination:8-15 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F

Lobularia maritima, Sweet Alyssum. This fragrant, hardy annual has delicate, dense clusters of tiny flowers growing in mounds. Alyssum may be started indoors 5 weeks before transplanting out, but it is easiest to direct sow 3 to 4 weeks prior to the last frost date. Sow seeds on top of the soil, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light is needed for germination. Provide even moisture and strong light during germination. Thin or carefully transplant the seedlings 4" to 5" apart once they are large enough to handle. Perfect for borders, rockgardens, containers and hanging baskets, this heirloom thrives in full to partial sunlight and in most types of soil. It prefers to be kept moist, but will tolerate drought and heat. It will likely bloom until the first hard frost. To encourage flower production, give them a haircut once the blooms are spent. Height: 3" to 8".

Shade Tolerance
Bachelor’s Button Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-12”
Days to Germination:7-14 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F

Centaurea cyanus. It is best to direct-sow Bachelor’s Buttons in well-draining, loamy soil in full sun as soon as the ground can be worked. Plant 1⁄2" deep and tamp down well since they require darkness for optimal germination. Keep uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, up to 2 weeks after sowing. Or sow indoors 4 weeks before planting outside, in a good seed-starting medium at about 60° to 70°F. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Prior to transplanting, acclimate the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. Thin or transplant 6" to 12" apart in the garden. Weed and keep well-watered until established. Drought tolerant, water moderately once established. Summer flowering. Height: 3'.

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Shade Tolerance
Balsam Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:10”-18”
Days to Germination:8-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Impatiens balsamina. Balsam can be direct-sown into the garden or started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Prepare bed in full to partial sunlight with rich, well-draining soil. Sow seeds in a good seed-starting medium at 70°F with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. For consistent moisture during germination, cover flats or pots with plastic wrap until seedlings emerge: then, discard plastic. Harden off seedlings by gradually acclimating them to outside conditions for 7 to 10 days before transplanting out. When plants are 4" to 8" tall, thin or transplant 10" to 18" apart. Drought-tolerant, this heat lover requires good drainage and dislikes excessive watering. Once they start to bloom, they are free flowering until the first frost. Summer flowering. Height: 12" to 18".
Bells of Ireland Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:0”
Seed Spacing:3”-4”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination:25-35 days
Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Moluccella laevis, aka Shellflower. Direct-sow Bells of Ireland 2 weeks before the last frost date. Prior to sowing, soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water to assist germination. Sow in a rich, well-draining garden bed in full to partial sunlight. Water regularly and feed as needed with manure tea, kelp or fish emulsion. Or start transplants indoors 6 to 8 weeks before setting out around the last frost date. Sow seeds on top of sterile starter mix, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light is needed for germination. Provide good air circulation, strong light and even moisture. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over 7 to 10 days before transplanting them out 12" apart. Readily self-sowing, this prized 1570 heirloom produces 2' to 3' spires of pale to emerald green, 1" funnel-shaped bells enclosing tiny, fragrant white flowers. Summer flowering. Height: 2' to 3'.
Browallia Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:8”
Days to Germination: 14-21 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Browallia americana. Browallia is summer’s version of Forget-Me-Nots: masses of clean, deep green foliage topped with oodles of amethystblue flowers. It blooms from June through September and even self-sows! Seeds are most successfully started outdoors, directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed in spring, in full sun to partial shade. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and keep them moist until germination. Thin seedlings to 8" apart. Browallia makes a wonderful filler for summer borders, and never seems to stop blooming. It prefers a bit of afternoon shade in warmer climates, and does not require dead heading. While it is technically a perennial in warmer climates, it is generally grown as an annual in North American gardens. Annual. Summer flowering. Height: 16" to 24".

Shade Tolerance
Calendula Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:2”
Plant Spacing:12”-15”
Days to Germination:10-14 days
Germination Temperature:70°F

Calendula officianalis. This decorative edible may be started outdoors as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. It prefers full sunlight and a fertile, loamy and well-draining soil. Plant the seeds 1⁄2" deep and firm well, since they require darkness for optimal germination. Keep uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, about 1 to 2 weeks after sowing. To raise as transplants, sow the seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost date in a good seedstarting medium, provide even moisture and a consistent 70°F temperature until the seedlings emerge in about 2 weeks. Once established, thin plants to 2" to 3" apart and grow on. Prior to transplanting when 3" tall, acclimate the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. Space plants 12" apart in the garden. Summer/fall-flowering. Height: 24".

Our Pollinators are in Peril

Shade Tolerance
Carnation Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:1”
Plant Spacing:8”-12”
Days to Germination:10-20 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Dianthus caryophyllus. This popular bouquet flower prefers to be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost date. Sow seed in a good seed-starting medium at 70°F with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Once established, thin plants to 2" to 3" apart and grow on. When the seedlings are 3" tall, acclimate them by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. The seedlings may be transplanted into the garden once all threat of frost has passed. Thin or space the seedlings 12" apart in the garden in well-draining, loamy soil and full sunlight. Weed carefully and water moderately beneath the plants until established. Chabaud Carnations are terrific bouquet flowers lasting three weeks once cut. Summer flowering. Height: 24".

Our Pollinators are in Peril
China Aster Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Row Spacing:12”-18”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination:10-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Callistephus chinensis. Asters should be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after all danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds on top of soil mix, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light aids germination. Provide even moisture, strong light and lukewarm water. Use individual peat pots or seed starting cells to avoid root disturbance. Prepare a garden bed in full to partial sunlight with rich, well-draining soil. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them outside over 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting 10" to 12" apart. To encourage branching, pinch back the young plants. Keep area mulched to conserve moisture. Plant Asters in a different spot each year, and water only at ground level early in the day. For best vase life, cut them once they start to open. Summer flowering. Height: 24".

Our Pollinators are in Peril
Corn Cockle Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination:7-14 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F

Agrostemma githago. Easily grown, it should be direct-sown after all danger of spring frost has passed. Corn Cockles may also be started indoors 4 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of spring frost has passed. Use individual peat pots or seed-starting cells to avoid root disturbance. Provide even moisture, strong light and air circulation. Prepare a bed in full sunlight with loamy, well-draining soil. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them outside for a week to 10 days before transplanting out. Thin or transplant to 12" apart. Keep the bed well-weeded and moderately watered until the plants are established. A British cottage garden favorite, it yields abundant 5-petaled, 11⁄2" fuchsia-pink flowers with black-whiskered white centers on fine-haired stems. Summer flowering. Height: 2' to 3'.
Cosmos Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:9”-24”
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature:68°-85°F

Cosmos bipinnatus. A tremendous cut flower, easy-to-grow Cosmos prefers to be direct-sown in the garden after the last frost date. Plant them 1⁄2" deep in well-draining soil with full sun. Keep uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, about 10 days after sowing. If you must start Cosmos indoors, you may plant them 1⁄2" deep in a good seed-starting medium at 68° to 85°F about 5 to 7 weeks prior to the last frost date. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Once established, thin to the strongest seedlings. Once 3" tall, transplant seedlings 9" to 24" apart in the garden. Quite forgiving, mature Cosmos plants will thrive in infertile or dry soil. Prized for wildflower meadows, their delicate flowers and feathery foliage belong in every heirloom garden. Summer flowering.

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Bee-Loved Romantic Cosmos
Cutting Ageratum Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:0”
Seed Spacing:8”-10”
Plant Spacing:12”-18”
Days to Germination: 7-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Ageratum houstonianum, the Floss Flower. Cutting Ageratum should be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after all danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds on top of soil mix, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light aids germination. Provide even moisture, strong light and luke warm water. Prepare a garden bed in full to partial sunlight with rich, well-draining soil. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them outside over 1 to 2 weeks. Carefully transplant them 8" to 12" apart. To encourage branching, pinch back the young plants at 8" tall. Keep them well-watered. Water at soil level only. For the best vase life, cut them once the fuzzy central flower cluster has opened and the side buds are showing pink color. Summer flowering.

Our Pollinators are in Peril

Shade Tolerance
Joseph’s Coat Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:3/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-18”
Days to Germination: 3-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-80°F

Amaranthus tricolor. Joseph’s Coat’s bushy, whorled stalks of green foliage are topped with hot yellows, reds and cream, looking like nothing short of an exuberant fireworks explosion. And it’s edible! Eat the young leaves raw in salads or steamed or stir-fried. Heat-loving, it can be direct sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in warmer areas. In colder areas, it may be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Sow seeds in seed starting medium with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting out. When plants are 4" to 8" tall, thin or transplant 6" to 18" apart. Give the plants full sun and moist soil for the most intense color. Pinching young plants encourages fuller growth. Height: 2' to 3'.
Love Lies Bleeding Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:3/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-18”
Days to Germination: 3-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-80°F

Amaranthus caudatus. Heat-loving, it can be direct-sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in warmer areas. In colder areas, it may be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Sow seeds in good seed-starting medium with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Prepare bed in full sunlight with rich, well-draining soil. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting out. When plants are 4" to 8" tall, thin or transplant 6" to 18" apart. Love Lies Bleeding has verdant green foliage and luminous fuchsia-garnet flowers composed on long rope-like stems that appear like thick, cascading dreadlocks. Prized in Victorian gardens, this old-fashioned drama queen puts on a big show. Summer flowering. Height: 3' to 5'.
Milkweed Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:4”-6”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination: 14-21 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Asclepias curassavica, the Blood Flower. Milkweed thrives in full to partial sunlight in most soil types. It may be sown outdoors after the last frost date but is best started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting out after all danger of frost has passed. Use individual peat pots or seed-starting cells to avoid root disturbance. Provide even moisture and strong light. Harden off the plants by gradually acclimating them outside over 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting out. Bred for the professional cut flower trade, it is the best for summer butterfly gardens. It produces a profusion of yellow, red and orange flower clusters and spindly pods that launch flat seeds within fluffy white parachutes. Cut the flowers early in the day when they are almost fully open ~ hold them upside down to avoid dripping their milky-white sap. Summer-fall flowering.

Our Pollinators are in Peril
Poppies Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:0”
Seed Spacing:6”-8”
Plant Spacing:15”-18”
Days to Germination:10-15 days
Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Papaver spp. It is best to direct-sow in rich, very well-draining soil in full to partial sunlight as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, through the fall for a prolonged blooming season. Lightly cover seeds with soil as light aids germination. Or, start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Use individual peat pots or seed-starting cells to avoid root disturbances. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors. Once the seedlings are 2" tall, thin or transplant 15" to 18" apart. Grown for its seed, its pink, mauve, purple, red or white flowers are an added bonus. To harvest seed for baking or planting, allow the pods to dry on the plants. Remove the whole pods before they split, break the pods open, remove the seeds and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot until use. Late spring flowering.

Our Pollinators are in Peril

Shade Tolerance
Spider Flowers Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:12”-18”
Days to Germination:10-14 days
Germination Temperature:70°-80°F

Cleome spinosa, Spider Plant. It is best to plant Cleome seeds directly in the garden after the last frost date. They may also be started indoors in a sterile soil mix, 6 to 8 weeks before planting outside. Cleome needs alternating day and night temperatures. Sow thinly and shallowly as light improves germination. Keep soil evenly moist until seedlings emerge. When seedlings are large enough to transplant, be sure to “harden them off” by gradually exposing the plants to the outdoors over a period of 7 to 10 days. Cleome appreciates full sun but tolerates partial shade; the garden bed should be rich, fertile, well-draining soil. Thin or transplant seedlings to 12" to 18" apart and keep the seedlings well-watered and weeded. Mature plants will tolerate heat and drought conditions.

Shade Tolerance