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Sowing and growing update - 20th April 2022

Usually I post a video to update Cut Flower Patch growers on how I'm getting on with sowing and growing the seeds from our monthly seed boxes. Although I'm sowing the same seeds as you at the same time I am aware that growers are joining the Cut Flower Patch at different points in the year and aren't necessarily sowing the same seeds exactly when I sow them at the beginning of each month. So I was thinking that a video might not be the best way to share sowing and growing updates as it can be difficult to find the bit you need when you need it. Therefore this month I am seeing if providing growing updates in this blog format is more user-friendly. I've grouped the information by month and for each plant I've specified the number of weeks since sowing. All the photos were taken just before writing this blog.

The January Seed Box - Sweet Pea, Godetia, Gypsophila Delphinium & Cleome

Sweet pea - week 15

I've just planted out the sweet peas from the January Box. As they are fairly hardy, unlike many cut flowers, there's no need to wait until after your last frost to plant out. As I'm going to be a bit tight for space in my main cut flower patch, I have decided to out them in a pot this year. Sweet peas need support, I've simply used six canes tied at the top to create a wigwam but there's lots of other options; netting, trellis or there's fancy obelisk style structures you can buy online or at garden centres.

Godetia - week 15

My godetia was getting a bit pot bound with the roots starting to come through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot so I either needed to move them to a larger pots or plant them out. As godetia is a hardy annual, after a week of hardening off, I've planted them into my cut flower patch. So far so good.

Gypsophila - week 15

I've just pinched out my gypsophila and am starting to harden them off by putting the plants outside during the day and putting them back into the greenhouse at night. Gypsophila is another hardy annual but I am just going to wait for the plants to get a little larger and the soil in my beds to get a little warmer before planting out into my cut flower patch.

Delphinium - week 14

The delphiniums have been a little slower to germinate and grow than the other January seeds but mine are at last starting to look more robust. I am going to wait until after the last frost in my area before planting out. This plant map is a useful tool for checking the date of your last frost.

Cleome - week 14

I've made 2 attempts to sow cleome seeds but neither tray has germinated :( ,I hope you've had more success than me. I am not 100% sure why they didn't germinate, as Cut Flower Patch seeds are high quality usually the success rate is very good. Next year!

The February Seed Box - Dahlia, Ageratum, Aster, Achillea & Rudbeckia

Dahlia - week 11

This is the first time I've grown dahlias from seed and am really pleased with how they've germinated, I have recently pinched out the centre leaves and, in the case of dahlias, pinching out once should be enough. Dahlias are half-hardy so shouldn't be planted out until the risk of frost has passed but in the meantime I'm going to harden them off but please remember to put them back in your greenhouse, polytunnel, cold frame etc. at night.

Ageratum - week 11

I finally pricked out my ageratum seedlings last week and was a little concerned that were tiny but as you can see from this photograph they are doing ok but are still very small.

Again ageratum is half-hardy so can't be planted out yet anyway. Am hoping the warm weather might encourage them to flourish, I think I'll pop them outside on warm days to see if that helps but will keep them out of direct sunlight. I'll keep you posted.

Aster - week 11

This week I'm going to pinch out the growing tips and the first set of leaves on the stems of my asters. I'm also going to harden them off for a week and then, by that time, they should be ready to plant them out in my cut flower patch, as they are a hardy plant.

Achillea - week 11

Like the ageratum my achillea were very small when I pricked them out but as you can see from the photograph they are doing very nicely. Again, I'm going to pinch them out this week to encourage growth and then harden them off before planting out.

Rudbeckia - week 11

The rudbeckia seems a little slow growing too. I'm going to try taking it out of the greenhouse on warm days, but wont leave it in direct sunlight. Just a reminder, rudbeckia doesn't need to be pinched out. It's half-hardy so if yours are getting to a decent size (roughly the size of your fist) then please don't plant out until after the last frost.

The March Seed Box - Sunflower, Zinnia, Cosmos, Cornflower & Greater Quaking Grass

Sunflower - week 7

Sunflowers are so rewarding as they are so easy to grow. When they get to around 20cm tall I will pinch out the growing tip, this will prevent them from growing too tall and they will produce more flowers. Slugs and snails love sunflowers so I will wait until they are around 30cm tall before putting them in my cut flower patch, this should give them a fighting chance...

Zinnia - week 6

My first zinnia seedlings were eaten by slugs so I sowed another tray a week later and was more vigilant the second time. I waited until the root system was well established before pricking out because zinnias don't like root disturbance. Zinnias are half-hardy so again please don't plant out until the risk of frost has passed.

Cosmos - week 7

My cosmos germinated very quickly this year. I'll pinch out the growing tip of each stem when 3 pairs of true leaves have grown (not quite there yet) to encourage stems to branch and produce more flowers. Cosmos is another half-hardy and I wont plant out until the risk of frost has passed.

Cornflower - week 6

The slugs caught me out again with my first sowing of cornflower and therefore kept a close eye on the tray I sowed a week later. All was looking good after pricking out a week or so later but today I noticed a few of the leaves looked like something had taken a bite and sure enough a quick inspection of the pots and I found slugs. It's worth looking underneath your pots and round the rims, slugs and snails like to loiter there. Although cornflower is hardy I am going to harden off the plants and let them grow a little larger before planting out, that way they should be more slug resistant...hopefully.

Greater quaking grass - Briza maxima - week 7

This is super-easy to grow. I'm going to leave it outside in its 9cm pots and let it grow a bit more of a root system and then plant out in a couple of weeks. Briza maxima doesn't need pinching out. It looks good in pots too so I'll probably use one of the plants to help fill out some of my larger containers.

The April Seed Box - Amaranthus, Scabiosa, Campanula, Ranunculus & Anenome

Amaranthus - week 2.5

My amaranthus from the April Box germinated within a few days but now the cells are looking a bit crowded so I'll thin it out this week and only keep the stronger seedlings. When the first set or true leaves appear I'll prick out into 9cm pots.

Scabiosa - week 2.5

The scabiosa also germinated quickly but again I wont prick out until they have their first set of true leaves. Looking at the photo the compost looks a little dry, it's worth keeping an eye on this, in warm weather the cell trays and small pots can dry out very quickly. Please keep them moist but be careful not to over water, you can always water from below if the seedlings are especially delicate.

Ranunculus - week 2.5

Literally in the last 24 hours the ranunculus are starting to come through. They aren't frost hardy so will get them out of the greenhouse during the day and back in at night but I'm confident these will be ready to go in to my patch once the risk of frost has passed.

Anemone and campanula - 2.5 weeks

Neither my anemone or campanula are showing any signs of life yet, but from experience anemones always take longer than ranunculus, keep them moist but be careful not to over water.

Will be keeping an eye on the campanula and the first site of germination the plastic cover will be off and I'll pop them in the greenhouse where they can benefit from the light.



Hi I joined for the April box. My seedlings have got two sets of leaves now. Can you advise when to plant out. Do I plant into larger pots first or can they go straight in the ground now. Thanks

Jane 😊


Apr 21, 2022

Good afternoon. I understand the pinching out of some plants to encourage bushiness and string growth but why are you removing the first leaves of the Asters?

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