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Why do seed packets contain so little information?  I purchased some seeds from Sara Raven but regret it constantly. There is just not enough info on how to grow the seeds! For example - Morning Glory... they need more than just popping into seed compost! Other seed need different treatments too - but I have had to research on the internet to find out why they wont grow! It would help if packets said 'need a night temp of more than 10 degrees' or 'soak in warm water before sowing', or even avoid over watering.... Grumph!

Seed packets would normally have all the information on them although it is often in shorthand speak, Specialists like Sarah probably think you know enough and would be insulted if they offered advice.
I have never soaked seeds or chitted them (sweet peas) there is more guff written about those than anything else, I pop the seeds into deep pots water and leave and that is in spring not midwinter. Once planted out I sow  seed between each plant and they follow on no problem.
Seeds do need differing temperatures and take different times to mature though when I do on occasion buy special seed I read it up first in the RHS Encyclopedias, better safe than sorry.
Seed sold in this country has a lot of different weather patterns to cope with so times and temperatures are often nominal, they cannot win them all.



For far this year i've sown :

Beetroot, lettuce, parsnips, raddish, leeks, tomatos, peppers, chillies, cucumber, melons

Cornflowers two types, callendular, ammi, nigella, meconopsis, valarian, hardy geraniums, sunflowers, sweet peas, many grasses, foxgloves, malope, achillea, aquilegia, cosmos. 


All of the above with no problems.. but not Verbena, i've tried bonariensis, hastata, rigida, I just can't get that to germinate. I've followed the seed packet info (very little) and trawled the internet. I even tried the cold spell by sowing it in january and leaving it in my unheated green house then bringing it inside.. nothing happened lol. I think i'll just buy 1 plant of each that i want this year and propergate from cuttings, cause they just hate me!

Glad I am not the only one... verbena did eventually germinate but it tooks about 8 weeks! Amazingly I had not ditched the pot.  Thanks for that website nutcutlet.



..I've got one packet of seed from Sarah Raven's collection which I've sown and all the seedlings have come up.  I would say the instructions on the packet are brief but adequate... suppose it depends what you feel comfortable with...


Yeah outdoor girl i'm going to ditch the verbinas and just put them back in my greenhouse now, if they come they come if not i'll get a plant and hack it up for next year. I just can't spare the space in the propergator any longer lol!


Outdoor girl. It depends what you're used to. Some of my germinations take months. 8 weeks is quick. 

Andy, they'll come when they're ready in or out of the propagator

hollie hock

I'm growing for verbena boneralis for the first time, sowed them I think in Jan, did the in the fridge, inside, outside in a cold frame, was very close to ditching them but thought I'd give them  a bit longer. More out of frustration I had a scratch about in the compost and then soon after up they came Probably got about 20 seedlings

I don't do the soaking or chitting of any seeds either


I must have been lucky with verbena bonariensis then. I have twice grown that. I really wish I had not so vigorously weeded them out when they self sowed all over the patio & in every pot. I now want more & am afraid they won't germinate! Not sure how you'd do cuttings from them.

I've tried several times with Verbena Rigida, or Verbena Venosa which is what Thompson & Morgan seed packet calls them, when I ordered Rigida, & they say it is the same plant. 

The instructions say to give half the amount of water you give to other seeds. So we probably all rot them with kindness! 


I've grown verb bonariensis several times without any trouble. The ones I've sown this year have taken  about a month in pots with a lid on kitchen window sill. Started coming through a few days ago.  I did some a couple of years ago in early summer in conservatory which were quite quick, then stuck them outside to grow on.

Rabbits ate them when I  planted them out though!

 I think cuttings are quite easy- I'm sure I did some a few years ago just in gritty compost in a pot in late summer 


A lot of companies send out packets of seeds with no instructions. They expect you to look on the internet.

My Tithonia packet says ''needs light to germinate''...nothing for a week. I put it in the airing cupboard for 2 days and full germination in full darkness! Some seeds say difficult to germinate and all come up within days whilst 'easy' seeds can confound and never grow!

hollie hock

Did some more verbena bs as a back up plan when the others weren't showing any thing, just going to leave them be in the cold frame. I've  read cuttings should be easy to take as well.

I struggle with getting Larkspurs and Delphs to germinate, just don't get Larkspurs..........

I considered purchasing some of Sarah Raven's seeds this spring but was put off by the price.

I find that a lack of information isn't restricted to seeds with many plant labels giving at best cursory or generic cultivation advice.


Had a good larkspur germination this year hollie hock. Just sowed and left in the cold greenhouse. Same as I did last year when I got none at all. Difference? who knows, temperature, light, where the seed came from.

Tootsietim, I can't see paying more for seed to have a celebrity name on. You can get them all without paying the extra


hollie hock

Were the seeds sown straight off the plant nut? I've got a few that somehow I've overwinted in the cold frames, wondering whether to plant these out now?

I've had a look at those seeds Tootsietim, they are very expensive.You can mix and match at wilkos


Hi hollie hock, no, they were my saved seed but I didn't get round to it before the winter. Just looked at the records but haven't noted when I sowed them. I don't know why I keep records. Whenever I want to know something I haven't recorded it. I should think it was end of March beginning of April. They took about 3 weeks and are overdue for pricking out.


My V. b's have germinated as well. It's a good year for germination.

muddy mare

I realy do struggle with coleus it lol  says easy on the packet