Carlina acaulis Seed Germination

Started by Bern, December 28, 2023, 03:37:41 PM

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Quote from: Uli on January 11, 2024, 01:16:36 AMOne thing I can say is that Carlina is an extremely tough plant forming a big and very deep tap root. So for sure it will not be happy in a pot

Some years ago, we visited a local plant nursery on their open day, when visitors could walk around the whole nursery.

Growing on their huge compost heap were dozens of flowering milk/St. Mary's thistle (Silybum marianum). I have always liked the plant but these were trully spectacular and they were covered in bees.

We got back to the nursery proper, to pay, and complimented them upon their spectacular display and were told that they agreed, and had tried growing it in pots, for sale, but with no root room, they grew to no real size and then flowered.

If anyone has the room, it is certainly well worth growing - here it normally reaches 1-1.5m, maybe a little more if happy. It is a solitary biennial, so should never outlive its welcome.

Sometimes restricted root room has beneficial effects though - out walking in local meadows we found a mullein around 45cm tall growing in minimal soil amongst rocks, in flower with the most intense, deepest pure yellow flowers imagineable. It looked a lot like Aaron's rod (Verbascum thapsus), which I also really like as a garden plant, but way too small and with amazing flowers, and it had a few ripe seeds, so I took the seeds home.
It is/was very standard Aaron's rod.


Success!!! Here is a photo of my Carlina acaulis seedlings. The cold stratification apparently was the key to success. I planted about 10 seeds and 6 germinated. After a particularly cold and rainy night, 3 perished and 3 survived. When these guys get a bit bigger, I will repot them into larger and deeper containers. I'll then get to see if they will grow in the heat and humidity here in the summer.  I will protect them from torrential summer rain by moving them under the patio. The good thing is that I learned how to get them to germinate and it only took 2 seasons.