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Oakley Witch

I have fallen in love with Astrantia and would love to grow it for my garden. I have been told that they are very difficult to grow from seed. Is this true? Am I likely to have success with sowing or should I just buy the plants? Suggestions would be great and very much appreciated. Thanks.

Morning Sam. I too love astrantias. I would buy the have a plant for next year then. Choose the variety you want. I have one called Jumble Hole which is a superb white but there are now crimson, purple, pink, etc. I also grow Sunningdale Variegated which has wonderful foliage. Careful, Astrantias can be addictive ! Good soil, some moisture but they will not grow in dry soils as I have learned over the years

I love them too, but rarely see them here in Dordogne. I have two fairly pathetic ones. I think it's just too hot here in summer. In August the ground can be really dry.

Hi busy-lizzie, I think you are right. Astrantias hate dry hot conditions. My garden, generally, is a sunny one but I plant my astrantias in the shadier parts and generously enrich the soil at planting time. Mine were late in flowering last year.....odd season, wasn't it?.....but came through to flower profusely mid summer to just a few weeks ago.



My understanding, although I have not tried it myself is that astrantias are actualy quite easy to grow from seed. They seem to need a cold period in order to get them to germinate, so sow them now put them somewhere shelters over winter and then yhey will germinate next spring. Lots of plants virtually for free.

Oakley Witch

Verdun, That's great. Thank You for the advice. I'm hoping to go with a purple, white and black colour scheme but that will probably change due to my will power lol. Nigelcoad, I will do that this weekend. I have a couple of seeds I managed to snuffle from my sisters garden and really hope they take. I will let you know how I get on. Thanks folks


Astantias are very easy from seed, needing cold as nidelcoad says. If you want to have those really dark ones you'll probably have to buy them, the seedlings are rarely as dark. As generations go on they become the colour of the wild ones, sort of pinkish.

If you want lots of astrantias seed is best. I split mine having bought the varieties I really want. I lack patience....ashamed to seed sowing is too long a process for me. I want my plants now, or at least for the coming summer, so I tend to buy them. Most of my garden is occupied by plants I have increased by splitting. There are exceptions though and seeing plants grown from seed and flourishing for little cost is very satisfying.
Oakley Witch

Thanks Nutcutlet, So when are they best sown? Is now too soon??

Verdun, I understand totally lol. The only problem I have here is that the plants found in our garden centres are reared down south and they get a shock when they come up with the change in temperature. If I rear them myself, they are accustomed to the temperature so have a better chance of survival. 


I've always sown them as soon as they're ripe. They germinate quickly then because they haven't gone dormant. The down side is you can end up with babies to see through the winter. I'm now experimenting with sowing very early in the new year, so they get the chill to break the dormancy but won't germinate til after the winter (in theory). I should think now would be fine, winter is well and truly here so you're not going to get anything germinating too quickly. It's too cold and they will be dormant.

I've found this site quite useful  

My seeds are outside, covered in grit, which stops all that green growth that comes on compost and I think it helps things stay where they should be in heavy rain.

I keep an eye on them, when they germinate I bring them into the cold greenhouse so I can supervise them and stop birds etc having them for lunch. After about February I bring them in anyway. I think for some seeds the higher daytime temps and the cold nights stimulates germination. A lot of this is theory and I'm still working on it.

Jean Genie

 Hope I've done mine right. I had a great show this year from my astrantias and someone on the forum suggested collecting the seed by means of tying a bit of ribbon around the strongest plants . I've done this but planted mine in pots in September and left them outside . I know they have to have a cold period to germinate but just hope they're not too cold .

Be interesting to see what happens next year.


They won't be too cold. Hope you get some good ones.

Oakley Witch

Ahhh, right. Ok, I have ordered some so am just waiting for them to arrive. Is there any particular compost mix that you have found is good? I just use regular compost with a layer of vermiculite.

That website is fantastic. It has an answer for everything so have added it to my favourites. Every little bit of info helps

Keep me posted on the outcome of your experiment please. Thankyou.

Jean Genie

Thanks Nutcutlet, I usually buy seeds but this year I've collected lots from my garden . The others are all sealed up and in the fridge ready for Spring. Really looking forward to trying this.

Can't wait for Spring.



I'll keep you posted. The basis is John Innes seed but as someone posted recently it is a bit hard, I've broken roots when pricking out. I generally mix in some multipurpose and a bit od fine grit (something I got from the aquarium shop) to make it feel as I think it should. Lightish, good draining with a bit of firmness for the roots.

I have a book that's good but I can't find it. I'll have a look in daylight tomorrow and let you know.

One of the reasons I shifted to the new year was on the advice of Carrie Thomas sent with some aquilegia seeds. See her website, hundreds of them. 

I've ordered some to extend my colour range

Oakley Witch

Ooohhhh, I love all these links

I love finding things that are new to me and would much rather go through the smaller ones than the big major seed companies. I had no idea there were sooo many Aquilegias available. I'm looking for some unusual herb seeds. Do you have any site suggestions Nutcutlet?

Busy-Lizzie wrote (see)

I love them too, but rarely see them here in Dordogne. I have two fairly pathetic ones. I think it's just too hot here in summer. In August the ground can be really dry.


Take a trip to the Massif Central - you'll find them on the slopes of the Puy de Sancy and many other places.


Oakley Witch
nutcutlet wrote (see)

Chiltern seeds I've used a lot and they're very reliable and sell a lot of interesting stuff. Nickys Nursery I haven't used but there's a good list of seeds.


I found Nickys last night and its great. I also ord d some of the long spurred Aquilegia last night form the link that you put up. The owner has an incrediblecollection. I ordered some White Sage seeds, Wild Bergamont, Bee Balm, Mugwort, & black cornflower seeds. Looking forward to seeing how they come on