Cultivate friends and happiness by starting perennials now

Selecting seeds is a great way to introduce new perennials into your garden and now is the perfect time to start them.

Starting perennials from seed is a great and inexpensive way to add new varieties to your garden! | MSU Extension

Starting perennials from seed is a great and inexpensive way to add new varieties to your garden! | MSU Extension

Now is the time of year when you can sit back, peruse through seed catalogs, read all the delightful descriptions and dream about spring. As you dream on the plants you will enjoy in the spring, Michigan State University Extension encourages you to consider starting some of these plants now from seed.

Growing perennials from seed can be a big challenge for gardeners, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Many perennials can be started under lights several weeks before the last frost and will be ready to plant in the garden as soon as spring arrives.

Most perennial seeds have very specific requirements for germination. Many germinate and grow slowly in the first year, spending their energy on building strong root systems. As a result, many do not flower in the first year. Before you begin with your seeds, make sure to research the germination requirements. You will find some seeds need a cold treatment, some need to be covered with soil, some need to be exposed to light to germinate and some seeds even need to be scarified or have their surfaces scratched. This is part of the fun: you will gain lots of knowledge and learn more about the science of seeds, perennials and the wonderful world of plants. 

One of the best things about growing your own perennials is that you can order seeds of varieties that are not readily available at your local garden center. In addition, seeds are much less expensive than purchasing plants, although you have to be more patient. Lastly, starting perennials from seed is a great way to literally grow happiness as you can share and swap your abundance of new plants with friends. Enjoy sowing your seeds!

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