Use the seeds the professionals use

Flower Culture Guide

There are many factors that affect the germination of seeds: soil conditions, general climate where you live, micro-climates, and so forth. From past experience you probably have a fair idea of which plants grow successfully in your area. We hope that the following table will give you even more information and will assist you in increasing the germination of your seeds. A few years ago we found that a high number of customers were experiencing germination failures with the seed lines that are a little trickier to germinate. Often people were thinking it was because of “bad seed batches” when it might simply have been that the seed should have been left uncovered or perhaps it was planted at the wrong time of the year!

NOTE: Because of our colder climate in New Zealand, seeds that are suggested to be planted between July and September are best sown under cover. When there is a reference to a “Special treatment note” please refer to the corresponding note at the bottom of the page. While every effort has been made to provide correct information, it is not intended to override your local knowledge or environment.

Genera—Species Sow time “Ideal” germ. soil temp. Light req. for germ.? Special treatment note Days to germ. Days from sowing to pricking out Weeks from sowing to transplant
Abutilon Jul–Jan 20–22 No 5–7 12–18 10
Acanthus Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 10–16 20–25 7–8
Achillea Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 Yes See note F 14–21 18–24 10–12
Agastache Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 25–30 8–10
Agave Aug–Nov 21–24 No 21–28 50–75 15–20
Ageratum Jul–Nov 20–25 Yes See note F 7–14 18–24 10–12
Alternanthera Sep–Dec 22–24 No 3–4 10–14 5–6
Alyssum Jul–Mar 18–21 Yes See note A 7–14 8–10
Amaranthus Sep–Dec 21–24 No 6–10 15–20 9–10
Ammi Majus Sep–Mar 22–25 No 10–14 21–28
Anagallis Jul–Jan 20–22 Yes 7–14 20–25 8–10
Anchusa Jul–Jan 20–22 No 7–14 18–24 10–12
Anemone Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 21–28 40–55 14–16
Angelonia Jul–Oct 22–25 Yes See note F 7–10 30–40 13–16
Antirrhinum Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 Yes See note F 7–14 20–25 11–13
Aquilegia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 Yes See note F 14–21 30–40 14–15
Arabis Jan–Apr 18–21 Yes See note F 7–14 21–28 10–12
Armeria Jul–Nov 20–21 No 6–10 15–22 12–13
Arthropodium Jul–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 35–40 8–10
Asclepias Jul–Jan 21–24 No See note B 21–28 50–75 15–20
Astelia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note G 50–75 100–120
Aster Jul–Jan 21–24 No 14–21 18–24 8–10
Astilbe Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 15–21 Yes See note F 14–21 40–50 12–14
Aubrieta Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 Yes See note F 7–14 20–25 10–12
Bacopa Aug–Nov 20–23 Yes See note F 4–6 14–21 8–10
Begonia Semperflorens May–Sep 24–25 Yes See note F 14–21 45–50 14–15
Begonia Tuberous May–Sep 24–25 Yes See note F 14–21 45–50 14–15
Bellis Perennis Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 No 7–14 14–21 14–15
Brazilian Fireworks Aug–Nov 18–24 No 4–5 14–21 5–6
Cabbage Tree Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note C 28–56 75–100
Calceolaria Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 Yes See note F 14–21 24–30 N/A
Calendula Jul–Aug & Feb–Apr 18–21 No 14–21 10–15 8–10
Campanula Jul–Nov 18–21 No 14–21 18–30 10–12
Candytuft Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 10–15 8–10
Canna Lily Jul–Nov 21–24 No 14–21 25–35 10–12
Capsicum Sep–Jan 20–22 No 14–21 25–35 8–10
Carex Testacea Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 30–40 8–10
Carnation Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 18–24 10–12
Celosia Aug–Nov 21–24 No 7–10 15–20 7–9
Chiastophyllum Aug–Oct & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note B 30–60 60–90 15–17
Chionchloa Flavicans Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 20–23 No See note C 21–28 50–70 14–16
Chrysanthemum Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 18–24 10–12
Cineraria Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 Yes 14–21 30–40 12–14
Clematis Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note C 21–28 50–70
Cleome Jul–Jan 21–24 Yes See note F 14–21 20–25 7–10
Clianthus Aug–Nov 18–21 No See note D 14–28 50–70
Clivia Aug–Nov 18–21 No See note D 50–100
Coleus Sep–Jan 21–24 No 14–21 25–35 6–8
Coreopsis Aug–Oct & Feb–Mar 18–24 No 7–14 20–25 11–12
Cornflower Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 12–18 8–10
Cosmidium Sep–Jan 18–21 No 7–14 18–24 8–10
Cosmos Sep–Jan 20–21 No 7–14 10–15 5–6
Craspedia Jul–Mar 22 No 7–14 14–21 8–10
Cuphea Aug–Nov 21–24 No 7–14 14–21 4–7
Cyclamen May–Sep 17–18 No 21–28 50–70 N/A
Dahlia Sep–Jan 18–21 No 7–14 15–20 10–12
Delphinium Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 No 14–21 21–28 8–10
Dianthus Sep–Jan 21–24 No 7–14 18–25 10–12
Diascia Jul–Dec 18–21 No See note F 7–14 30–40 12–15
Dichondra Sep–Jan 20–22 No 7–14 15–22 11–12
Digitalis Jul–Mar 20–22 No 7–14 15–22 10–12
Dimorphotheca Jul–Nov 20–22 No 7–14 15–22 10–12
Dracaena Sep–Jan 20–22 No 30–90 50–125 N/A
Echinacea Sep–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 21–28 10–12
Echium Jul–Mar 18–24 No 7–14 28–35 10–12
Eryngium Jan–Apr 18–24 No 14–21 35–40 7–9
Erysimum Jul–Aug & Apr–May 18–21 No 7–10 10–14 2–4
Eschscholzia Jul–Mar 20–22 No 14–21 15–22 7–9
Eucalyptus Aug–Nov 20–25 Yes See note F 6–12 28–35 10–12
Euphorbia Jul–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 35–42 12–14
Felicia Sep–Mar 20–22 No 14–21 21–28 9–10
Festuca Jun–Sep 20–23 No 14–21 8
Festuca Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 7 to 14 28–35
Flowering Kale Jul–Aug & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 10–14 14–21 5–6
Freesia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 28–35 35–45 8–10
Fushcia Jul–Nov 20–22 No 7–10 30–40 18–20
Gaillardia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 21–24 Yes 7–14 20–25 12–15
Gazania Jul–Mar 20–22 No 7–14 20–25 11–12
Geranium Jul–Jan 21–24 No 7–14 15–21 11–12
Gerbera Jul–Jan 20–24 No 14–28 25–30 8–10
Gloxinia Jul–Nov 18–21 Yes See note F 14–21 35–42 N/A
Godetia Jul–Nov 20–22 No 14–21 21–28 8–10
Gomphrena Aug–Nov 20–22 No 10–14 28–35 7–9
Gypsophila Jul–Mar 21–22 No 7–10 28–35 10–12
Hebe Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 Yes 14–35 45–60
Helianthus Sep–Mar 20–24 No 7–14 14–18 3–4
Helichrysum Aug–Nov 21–24 No 7–10 28–35 10–13
Helleborus Jul–Oct & Feb–Mar 24–26 No See note G 50–95 130–160
Heuchera Jul–Mar 18–21 No 21–28 42–50 12–14
Hibiscus Aug–Dec 18–25 No 3–7 20–30 14–16
Hollyhock Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 20–22 No 10–14 15–25 8–10
Hypoestes Jul–Mar 21–24 No 10–21 14–18 11–12
Impatiens Sep–Jan 24–25 Yes See note F 7–10 15–20 9–10
Ipomoea Aug–Nov 18–21 No 5–7 14–18
Isolepis Aug–Nov 18–21 Yes See note F 5–10 21–28 5–6
Juncus Jun–Jan 15–20 Yes See note F 14–21 21–28 5–6
Kaka Beak Aug–Jan 20–22 No See note D 21–35 50–75
Kowhai Aug–Jan 18–21 No See note H 28–56 130–160
Larkspur Jul–Nov 18–20 No 14–21 30–40 8–10
Laurentia Aug–Nov 21–22 No See note C 8–12 30–40 10–12
Lavatera Jul–Dec 20–24 No See note A 7–10 14–28 8–10
Lewisia Jul–Nov 18–21 No See note C 28–42 60–75 15–20
Lilium Aug–Dec 15–20 No 14–21 20–30 8–10
Limnanthes Jul–Mar 18–24 No 14–21 28–35 10–12
Linaria Jul–Jan 20–22 Yes See note F 7–14 15–25 9–10
Linum Jul–Jan 20–22 Yes See note F 7–14 15–20 10–11
Lisianthus Jul–Nov 24–26 Yes See note F 14–21 36–48 10–12
Lobelia Jul–Mar 21–26 Yes See note F 14–21 20–25 10–11
Lupin Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–24 No 14–21 18–30 8–10
Lysimachia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 30–40 8–10
Madia Jul–Mar 18–24 No 7–21 28–35 10–12
Manuka Jul–Feb 18–21 No See note D 14–28 50–70
Marigold Jul–Jan 22–24 No 7–14 15–20 7–8
Marlborough Rock Daisy Jul–Feb 18–21 No See note D 14–21 40–50
Meconopsis Jul–Aug & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note A 21–28 40–50 10–11
Mesembryanthemum Jul–Jan 18–20 No 14–21 20–28 7–8
Millet Sep–Dec 22–25 No 2–7 14–21 11–13
Mimosa Jul–Mar 24–26 No 14–21 28–35 10–12
Mimulus Jul–Nov 15–21 Yes See note F 7–14 20–25 7–8
Mirabilis Jul–Mar 18–24 No 7–21 28–35 10–12
Molucella Jul–Mar Day 30–Night 10 No 14–21 28–35 10–12
Mt Cook Lily Jul–Aug & Feb–Mar 15–18 No See note G 70–140
Myosotidium Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 15–18 No See note D 21–28 40–50 12–15
Nasturtium Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 18–25 7–8
Nemesia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 21–28 75–85
Nemophila Jul–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 15–21 9–10
Nicotiana Jul–Jan 21–24 Yes See note F 14–21 20–25 6–8
Nigella Jul–Mar 18–21 No 14–21 20–25 6–8
Nikau Palm Jul–Aug & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note G 100–150
Oryza Oct–Dec 20–24 No 14–21 35–40 8–10
Osteospermum Jul–Mar 21–22 No 10–14 14–21 9–11
Palm Aug–Sep & Feb–Mar 22–24 No See note D 7–100
Pansy Jul–Oct & Feb–Apr 18–24 No 10–14 15–20 11–12
Penstemon Jul–Mar 20–22 No 14–21 20–28 9–10
Pentas Sep–Jan 20–22 Yes See note F 7–14 20–28 12–13
Petunia Sep–Jan 24–25 Yes See note F 7–14 15–20 10–12
Pharbitus Sep–Jan 18–21 No 5–10 14–21
Phlox Sep–Jan 15–18 No 10–14 20–25 8–9
Phormium Jan–Mar & Jun–Sep 15 No See note G 50–75
Platycodon Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 20–21 Yes See note F 14–21 20–30 10–13
Plectranthus Sep–Jan 20–24 No 5–10 21–28 5–6
Pohutakawa Jan–Mar 7 Jun–Sep 18–21 No See note D 14–28 50–70
Poppy Iceland Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–24 No See note A 10–14 16–25 8–10
Poppy Somniferum Jul–Mar 18–24 No See note A 10–14 16–25 8–10
Portulaca Sep–Jan 24–25 Yes See note F 7–14 16–25 8–10
Potentilla Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 20–22 No 14–21 20–30 10–12
Primula Acaulis Primrose Oct–Feb 15–18 Yes See note E 21–28 30–40 10–12
Primula Elatior Polyanthus Oct–Feb 15–18 Yes See note E 21–28 30–40 10–12
Primula Malacoides Dec–Mar 15–18 Yes See note E 21–28 30–40 10–12
Primula Obconica Nov–Apr 19–21 Yes See note E 14–21 30–40 10–12
Prunella Sep–Feb 18–22 No 30–60 30–40 14–16
Pyrethrum Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 19–21 No 7–14 21–28 12–14
Ptilotus Oct–Dec 24–26 Yes 7–14 15–20 6–8
Ranunculus Dec–Mar 10–15 No See note E 14–21 45–50 12–14
Rudbeckia Jul–Jan 19–21 No 10–14 20–28 8–10
Salpiglossis Sep–Jan 21–22 No 14–21 20–28 8–10
Salvia Sep–Jan 21–24 Yes See note F 10–14 14–21 7–8
Scabiosa Jul–Mar 18–21 No 10–21 30–35 10–12
Schizanthus Sep–Jan 15–21 No 7–14 21–28 9–10
Shasta Daisy Dec–Mar 18–21 No 10–14 20–25 16–18
Solanum Jun–Dec 22–25 No 14–21 21–28 24–28
Spilanthus Jul–Oct 22–24 Yes See note F 7–14 30–40 11–13
Stachys Jan–Mar & Jun–Sep 18–21 Yes See note F 7–14 30–40 11–13
Statice Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No 7–14 14–21 8–10
Stevia Oct–Dec 25–26 Yes 7–14 35–40 8–10
Stock Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–24 No 7–14 14–21 8–10
Streptocarpus Sep–Jan 22–24 Yes See note F 21–28 50–70 N/A
Sweet Pea Aug–Oct & Feb–Mar 18–22 No 10–21 15–25 5–6
Sweet William Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 20–22 No 7–14 14–21 10–12
Tagetes Jul–Jan 22–24 No 7–14 15–20 7–8
Talinum Sep–Jan 20–24 No 4–7 35–40 9–10
Thunbergia Sep–Jan 21–24 No See note D 10–14 20–30 6–8
Tigridia Sep–Jan 18–24 No See note A 18–24 28–35 50–70
Torenia Sep–Jan 22–24 Yes See note F 14–21 28–35 10–11
Trachelium Aug–Oct & Feb–Mar 20–22 Yes See note F 14–21 35–45 12–14
Uncinia Jul–Sep & Feb–Mar 18–21 No See note C 50–70 100–120
Verbena Sep–Jan 24–26 No 7–14 20–25 10–11
Veronica Aug–Oct & Feb–Mar 18–24 Yes See note F 10–14 16–25 10–12
Vigna Sep–Jan 21–24 No 14–21 25–35 8–10
Vinca Oct–Dec 24–25 No 7–14 35–40 8–10
Viola Jul–Oct & Feb–Apr 18–24 No 10–14 15–20 11–12
Wallflower Jul–Oct & Feb–Apr 15–20 No 14–21 25–30 8–10
Zinnia Sep–Jan 21–22 No 7–10 14–18 8–10

Special Treatment Notes

Special Treatment Identifier Specific Notes
A Seedlings do not transplant well. If you need to transplant, do so very carefully. Moist soil on a cloudy/rainy day is essential. You are better to sow where the plants are to grow or sow in cells or small pots.
B If seeds do not germinate readily, place the tray, wrapped in a plastic bag, in a refrigerator for 14 days. Remove after the 14 days and then place in a warm location under cover or indoors.
C Sow in trays and place in a refrigerator for 21 days. Fridges are dry so wrap the tray up in a plastic bag to prevent from drying out. After the 21 days, place trays in a warm location under cover or indoors.
D Germination is often erratic. Remove/transplant seedlings as they emerge, leaving the others to germinate in due course. The “disturbance” often prompts the germination of the others.
E These items need a cool germination temperature at the time of year when it is usually very warm. A cool environment must be provided. A south side of the house or a basement for example. Just be careful to allow plenty of light for germinated seedlings (to avoid stretching).
F Do not cover these seeds during germination. These items are relatively easy to germinate ONLY if you obey this rule. These seeds are either too small to cover, or daylight actually enhances their germination. It is important to take extreme care during this period to prevent the tray drying out. These items must be sown under cover to achieve this.
G Stratification (the refrigeration process) is the gardener’s way of mimicking Mother Nature’s cold winter conditions. In the wild, “seed dormancy” is overcome by the seed spending time in the ground through cold winter spells. This breaks down the hard seed coat, (in combination with moisture and bacteria). When the seed is reintroduced to warm conditions, its biological clock thinks it is spring, and therefore time to germinate.
H Pour boiling water over seed, leave to cool and soak for 24 hours. Sow the seed that has swollen, repeat the process for the remaining seed. Some species with very hard seed coats may require several treatments before they will respond. Scarification with sand paper before treatment may be beneficial in speeding up the process in some species.