How to grow aquilegia from seeds?
The charming catchment is one of the most beloved shade-tolerant perennials. In the garden, the touching flowers of aquilegia with spurs seem to be fluttering fairies, or elven caps, shine with mystery and conquer with their grace. And although this is not the most spectacular of the flowering mods, but it is very reliable. Yes, and beautifully flowering varieties of aquilegia can surprise no less than their most catchy competitors. Whatever aquilegia is involved, the most popular and affordable way to multiply their collection is to grow plants from seeds, especially since there is nothing complicated in this process.
Aquilegia (Aquilegia) Is one of the most popular garden perennials. Despite the fact that the plant is predominantly represented by various hybrid varieties and varietal mixtures, and species aquilegia are considered a rarity, seed propagation is the main propagation method for all aquilegia. And although these plants can also be obtained by vegetative methods, aquilegia is easier, faster and much cheaper to obtain from seeds.
By purchasing just a few sachets or collecting the seeds yourself, you can get enough seedlings for any large ensemble in one “call”.
Aquilegia is easy to recognize by the famous spur on flowers, thanks to which the plant got its specific name. Touching flowers, evoking the most diverse associations with fairy-tale characters and spirits, are a small masterpiece of nature that you never get tired of admiring. Complex flowers on thin pedicels in loose inflorescences mysteriously and weightlessly gleam in the shaded areas of the garden, sparkling against a bright background of leaves.
Ternary, invariably bright in the early spring, and summer, and autumn, the leaves seem delicate and shining in the shade with a velvety background for trembling flowering. Simple or double, with a double perianth, the flowers of the catchment are ideally combined with bright leaves. Among the aquilegia there are plants undersized and taller, large-flowered and terry. You can choose them to your taste and for any decorative task.
Aquilegia seed self picking and seed selection
If you want to collect seeds from aquilegia yourself, then it is better to plant varieties at a considerable distance, do not mix in the compositions, since they are very easily pollinated and crossed. If you collect seeds in decorative compositions and flower beds, you can control the varietal purity of aquilegia by preventing natural pollination - tying up gauze insulators and self-pollination of flowers with a brush (you need to rinse and dry it after each pollination).
Aquilegia seeds are usually harvested in August, before they wake up (it is better to dry the fruit in room conditions). With a slight pressure on the sides of the "box" the seeds easily wake up. Tying allows you to prevent this process. If it is not possible to sow seeds directly into the soil, then they are stored at low temperature.
Aquilegia seeds should preferably be sown as fresh as possible. The shelf life of the seeds is limited, even after several months the collected seeds will need stratification. When buying aquilegia seeds, you need to carefully study the collection time and storage conditions, try not to buy seeds older than 1 year, even if you really like the varieties.
The maximum shelf life is 5 years, seeds older than 2 years are difficult to force to sprout, but with proper sowing and from them you can get strong seedlings. Aquilegia is popular and affordable, there are a lot of seeds for sale, you just need to choose a reliable producer. It is better to choose sort mixes and varieties to your taste.
Aquilegia soil and containers
Aquilegia can be sown on seedlings, and in seedlings, and directly into open soil. Moreover, the latter option is the most popular and productive. When choosing containers for growing aquilegia seedlings, preference should be given to deep enough drawers or pots, so that the plants have enough space for the formation of a stem root. For a dive, it is better to choose peat and paper containers in which you can plant the plant immediately in the soil.
For aquilegia, a standard universal substrate for seedlings or any light soil mixture is quite suitable. If you make up the substrate yourself, then mix in equal parts turf, leaf soil, humus and sand, or a mixture of turf land, humus and sand without leaf soil.
Sowing aquilegia seeds at home
The best time for sowing aquilegia seeds is considered to be sowing immediately after harvest, in the fall. When buying seeds, sowing to obtain higher percent germination is also best done in the fall. An alternative time frame is early spring, but in this case the seeds of aquilegia will require stratification (preferably grown through seedlings, but can be sown in the ground).
During the autumn sowing of aquilegia in the soil of freshly harvested seeds, no preplant treatment is needed. Sowing is carried out in the winter, and the whole procedure is reduced to several steps:
- Gently sow the seeds on a seedbed with prepared, dug up, loosened soil.
- Cover them on top with a thin layer of soil (about 0.5 cm). Spend a neat watering.
- Mulch the crops with humus or compost, covering with a thin layer of dry leaves (any material available for mulching is suitable for you).
When sowing aquilegia in spring and on seedlings, and in the soil, it is desirable to stratify the seeds and store in the cold. There are several options for this procedure:
- keep the aquilegia seeds in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks;
- mix the seeds with soil, put in a container and bag and stand all winter in the refrigerator;
- take aquilegia seeds or a mixture of seeds with sand or substrate outside, put in a snowdrift, etc.
Some flower growers experiment with the reverse procedure - holding seeds in the heat (35 degrees for 4-5 weeks) or scarification (sanding). But, as a rule, more friendly shoots of aquilegia are obtained nevertheless upon cooling.
When sowing in spring for seedlings of self-collected or acquired seeds of the autumn harvest of the previous year, it is necessary:
- Fill the container with a substrate and level its surface, pour the substrate with warm water.
- It is not easy to disperse stratified aquilegia seeds over the surface and sprinkle on top with a few millimeters of soil (preferably sifted).
- Transfer containers to room conditions for germination by covering with glass or film.
Aquilegia seeds can be sown in spring and in open soil. The optimal time for sowing seeds is April or early May, when the soil warms up. Freshly harvested seeds in the previous fall can be used without stratification. Aquilegia seeds are also sown to a depth of half a centimeter, as in autumn, but covered with film on top of crops. Germination requires regular watering. Shelter is removed only when friendly shoots appear.
If you want to simplify the process of growing, sowing can be done later, but then young plants will have to provide more thorough care.
The most difficult process is sowing very old seeds. In this case, the procedure changes somewhat, stratification is carried out after sowing:
- Aquilegia seeds should be washed in water and soaked for several hours in a warm solution of potassium permanganate.
- Sow seeds in a flat substrate and lightly cover with soil.
- Without covering the containers, leave them at room temperature for 3-4 days.
- Tanks are taken out or refrigerated for stratification for 4-6 weeks.
- Crop back into heat, place in standard room conditions.
Aquilegia seed germination conditions
For aquilegia seeds, heat and coolness are equally harmful. The optimum temperature, in which even in old seeds germination occurs a maximum after a month - 16-18 degrees. Lighting should be as bright as possible, but diffuse.
In containers, seedlings are grown until a second leaf appears. Seedlings should be protected from waterlogging and complete drought, direct sunlight, very accurate irrigation should be carried out.
Diving seedlings and caring for young aquilegia
Diving seedlings of aquilegia is preferably carried out directly on the beds, in open soil. If sowing seeds was carried out early, there is no way to plant them even in a greenhouse, then plants dive either in individual containers or in large boxes, increasing the distance between plants, and are transferred to the soil already in June. When diving with aquilegia, you need to handle it very carefully, trying to avoid even the slightest injury to the rhizome. Seedlings are kept in the same cool conditions. Highlighting at least 1-2 hours will only benefit plants.
When sowing in open soil, friendly young sprouts of aquilegia at the same stage are thinned out, leaving a distance of 5-20 cm between plants.
Planting seedlings of aquilegia in the soil
The aquilegia obtained from the seeds will bloom only in the second year, but you should not expect a full disclosure of the decorativeness of greenery before the third year. Therefore, most often, in May-June, water privileges are transferred for growing to individual seedlings, and they are transplanted to a permanent place only in August of the current or spring of next year. But you can plant plants and immediately in decorative compositions.
When choosing a place to grow aquilegia, you should remember that these are shade-tolerant plants, which partial shade is best suited. On sunny grounds, aquilegia will also take root, but they will bloom faster and will not indulge in their luxurious foliage. The soil can be virtually anything, as long as the condition of sufficient nutrition, friability, water permeability is met.
Before planting, it is best to improve the soil with additives of compost or other organic fertilizer. It is advisable to dig the soil in the area in advance, but you can carry out the procedure immediately before planting.
The distance when planting seedlings of aquilegia is from 25 cm for the lowest varieties to 40 cm - for high ones. Plants are transferred with the full preservation of an earthy coma.
Young aquilegia needs a bit more intensive care than adults or dividing: weeding is necessary for plants so that delicate plants do not suffer from aggressive neighbors, and remember to loosen the soil after heavy irrigation and rainfall. Watering is carried out until the resumption of active growth, in the future - only during a prolonged drought.
In summer, for young aquilegia, you can feed with full mineral fertilizers. If your aquilegia suddenly blooms in the same year, then cut the shoots immediately after flowering, preventing the seeds from tying up.
For winter, young aquilegia mulch with compost or humus.
Next spring, the soil must be poured to the base of the bush of aquilegia, so that from the very beginning to prevent exposure of the rhizome and lifting in the soil.
Alternative methods of breeding aquilegia
These perennials always give active self-sowing, virtually continuously providing you with ready seedlings. It’s enough to dig out young plants and transplant them to any desired place if there is a need for additional copies of aquilegia (if not, then as self-cultivation grows, it will help to replace adult bushes effortlessly when they degenerate).
Aquilegia rarely propagates vegetatively, plants tolerate transplantation very poorly due to deep-seated and fragile roots. You can divide it only in early September or early spring, digging out the aquilegia bushes, leaving only 2-3 young leaves and carefully cutting the root root lengthwise into parts with 2-3 buds and a good bunch of roots in each. To root, you need regular watering.
Varietal aquilegia can be propagated by cuttings of young shoots with leaves that have just begun to bloom, breaking them out with a “heel” and rooting them under a cap.