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 Post subject: Blooms this season?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:36 am
Posts: 67
Location: Wa. state
I planted Canterbury Bells from tiny little seeds. Well, 2 weeks later, and they are up! :D The seedlings are teeny tiny.
I was wondering if I can expect them to bloom this year.
Last year I bought plants, and they bloomed beautifully, but I thought I'd save money by growing my flowers from seed this year. Here are last year's C.Bells. They are my current favorite...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:35 am
Posts: 126
Canterbury Bells are biennials. They flower in the second year. The ones you bought last year would have been seedlings the previous year. Canterbury Bells can seed itself around if you're lucky and, like forget-me-nots and foxgloves, sometimes appear to be perennial. If you've planted flowering plants two years in a row and they seed themselves, each year seedlings are produced that will flower the following year.

---- I had one of those 'smack yourself in the head' moments after posting the above yesterday ---

What I do with the biennials I grow - forget-me-nots, foxgloves and hollyhocks - is take advantage of the fact that they flower, produce and ripen seeds relatively early (except the hollyhocks which are a bit later). Once the seed heads have ripened, I cut the flowerstalks down and spread the seeds around where I want the plants to bloom next year. By mid-fall there are usually lots of seedlings - the following spring they will grow on and become blooming plants. Foxglove seed is as fine as dust so I just lay the whole flowerstalk where I want the plants to grow. If the seedlings are thick, I dig some up and move them in the spring. Hollyhocks are later to bloom than the others so I'm always a bit worried that the seeds won't have time to germinate and grow before winter. I find that if I cut the stalks down as soon as the seed ripens, the 'mother' plant will sometimes come back for another year. I did plant the original hollyhocks two years in a row to make sure I would have continuous hollyhocks in case the seedlings from one year's plants didn't really get a start until the following spring.

Where I grew up, Canterbury Bells grew 'wild' in the hay fields so they were obviously seeding themselves each year (likely helped out by having the seeds spread during the haying process...) I think, if you buy plants that will flower this year, spread the seeds from them when they ripen, let the seedlings grow this fall, next spring you should have flowering plants. If you spread the seeds each year when the flowers are finished, the Canterbury Bells will almost seem like perennials. Just make sure you recognize the seedlings and don't weed them out!

Southern Ontario
~USDA zone 5

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