Posted: 16/12/2016 at 09:12
Definitely needs to be fresh seed. Also much of the seed is not viable in the first place. You need to look carefully at the actual seed n the end of the 'feather' Viable seed is plump, non-viable flat.
Some people remove the 'feather' before sowing as they can rot and damage the seed, but I never have.
I just gently poke the seed into the compost so it is stood upright as it would be if self sown, then trickle grit between them. No heat required, just a safe place where the pots do not get disturbed by humans, weather or animals.
I also tend to prick them out as soon as they are big enough to handle. They do not like root disturbance so be very careful when doing this. If, like some of mine this year did, they do not germinate until autumn then leave them in the seed pot until they begin to regrow in Spring.
Most of the time these days I just dig up self sown seedlings from around the parent plant, makes it a lot easier, but then they like my rock garden and are almost seed weeds.