Podzimny sowing is a simple and effective agrotechnical event, which many gardeners call «natural stratification». We talk about what flowers can be sown in late autumn, and how to do it correctly.

The advantages of winter sowing are obvious — it is an alternative to growing seedlings, a good way to use “risky” seeds and the opportunity to get stronger plants with early flowering.

The disadvantages of the method are the sowing rate increased by 1.5-2 times, country work at zero temperature and the risk of seedlings falling out due to winter thaws and spring return frosts.

The advantages usually outweigh, especially if you have your own positive experience of winter crops. So let’s try.

What flowers can be sown before winter?

The answer is obvious — cold-resistant. There is an opinion among summer residents that all plants with pubescent leaves and stems are heat-loving, therefore they are not suitable for winter sowing.

The statement is generally true, since the villi on the leaves prevent the evaporation of moisture in the heat, but this does not mean that heat-resistant plants cannot resist the cold. For example, a rather «hairy» stock-rose or calendula with pubescent leaves are one of the best flowers for winter sowing — after natural stratification, the plants turn out to be strong, strong and bloom early.

We offer another way to select flower seeds for sowing in late autumn — use our catalog, in which the characteristics of plants are indicated in accordance with the recommendations of breeders. We have collected seeds of cold-resistant flowers and ornamental grasses in a separate section — plan flower beds quickly and conveniently.

How to sow flower seeds before winter

Winter sowing is very different from spring sowing. The rules must be remembered and observed, then success is guaranteed.

The ground is prepared in advance. You will have to sow in hard frozen soil, which is difficult to dig up and it will not be possible to make grooves. 2 weeks before the arrival of stable cold weather, the flower beds are dug up, humus, ash, superphosphate are added and grooves for sowing are marked.

Sowing is better later than earlier. The main mistake of winter sowing is too early, when there are still 2-3 weeks of relatively warm weather ahead. The seeds will germinate and will certainly freeze in the winter. It is possible to sow only when the forecast for the next 10 days promises stable “near zero” with a tendency to negative temperatures. Before winter, it is better to sow on snow than on warm ground.

Everything must be dry. The seeds are in no case soaked, the beds are not watered and they wait for dry cold weather. Mulch should also be dry, with a layer of which you need to sprinkle grooves with seeds — a box with mature humus can be brought into the greenhouse in advance, peat or even dry sand can be prepared. By the way, sand mulching is clearly visible in the spring, and germination can be easily assessed.

Cold is not the enemy. It is not necessary to cover or insulate the bed. Lutrasil on arcs can be placed in the spring after germination. If you use a winter shelter, then during the warm February “windows”, the seedlings will trustfully start growing and will certainly die.

Bad seeds — in business. Seeds with an expiring shelf life will disappear when stored in a warm, dry apartment, and when sown in winter, they will germinate. The same applies to seeds collected from their flower beds. The germination of “own” seeds does not exceed 20-40%, and winter sowing is an excellent use for them. The sowing rate must be significantly increased.

Annual flowers for winter sowing

Excellent results when sowing before winter are shown by asters and annual chrysanthemums — most often gardeners sow them on frozen ground. However, there are much more annuals that grow well after natural stratification:

  • violas or pansies will bloom in the first season;
  • cosmos, cornflowers and escholzia are not averse to sown before winter on their own;
  • alyssums, awl-shaped phloxes, carnations, self-seeding poppies work out better in open ground than through seedlings.

The risks are obvious: in case of failure, you need to have a supply of seeds on hand for spring sowing, and if you are lucky, strong spring shoots will have to be thinned out, which some of them, such as poppies, cannot stand.

We sow perennial flowers before winter

  • Without fear, sow aquilegia and sage in the frozen ground — stratification is always a joy for them.
  • Try planting ribbon or border plantings of primrose and narrow-leaved lavender in the fall — this is a very serious savings on buying seedlings.
  • If you managed to get hellebore seeds, you can sow them directly in the snow and mulch them.
  • If you want to get powerful tall delphiniums, sow seeds before winter, but choose blue and blue varieties that are considered the most resistant.

By the way, not only flowers, but also many vegetables can be sown before winter, but we will talk about this in the following materials.

Tell us in the comments about your experience of winter sowing — what, when and how you sowed, and what result you got. And if you plan to go to the dacha in late autumn, watch a short master class from our specialist on what things you need to do in the garden before the real winter comes.

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