Monday, February 21, 2011

First annual seeds of 2011: Gazania rigens 'Daybreak Pink Shades'

[Photo: Gazania rigens seeds, with Canadian penny for scale.]While native plants are my passion, I can't resist growing some annuals from seeds as well, especially since most natives need a few years to grow from seed to flowering size.

This is my first attempt at growing Gazania rigens (gazania or treasure-flower, gazanie) from seed (or any other way). Gazanias are low growing brightly coloured daisies (these ones are pink), and I'm hoping that like other daisies they will be attractive to pollinators as well as humans. G. rigens is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and grows as a weed in Australia, but has not naturalized in North America.

I was surprised by the pale yellow colour of these seeds; they don't look ripe somehow. According to the package they need a week or two of darkness to germinate, which is just as well as I haven't figured out where I'm going to set my lights up yet. They're currently sown in flats hidden in one of my kitchen cupboards!

PS: The natives I've started so far are Agastache foeniculum, Allium cernuum, Anemone virginiana, Aquilegia canadensis, Asclepias sp. (syriaca?), Asclepias tuberosa, Baptisia australis, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Desmodium canadense, and Helenium autumnale. They're stratifying in flats outdoors, hopefully they will get enough cold weather before spring starts in earnest.

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