Helianthemums have open colourful flowers, containing quantities of nectar making them very attractive to bees. Therefore pollination takes place easily but as the bees travel from plant to plant, cross-pollination is common. We have often found chance seedlings due to cross-pollination that are very different from existing named cultivars held in the collection. For this reason, the majority of seeds sold by commercial companies are mixed colours as opposed to named cultivars.
Even though packets of seeds are mixed, some very unique colours and foliage forms can be achieved making attractive and individual plants. To maintain particular named cultivars, it’s always best to propagate from cuttings.
Basic steps to Propagation from Seed
- Depending on the quantity of seeds to sow, prepare either a series of pots or seed tray with suitable soil. I tend to use a mixture of 2 parts John Innes, 2 parts peat and 1 part sharp sand. Also, don't forget the label.
- Ensure the soil is already prepared damp.
- Evenly sprinkle the seeds over the surface of the soil and gently press into the surface of the soil. Sprinkle a small amount of soil over the top of the seeds so they are slightly covered.
- Place the pots of seeds in a well-lit, warm but shady location out of direct sunlight. Ensure the soil remains continuously damp to encourage germination. Seeds usually take between 1 and 3 months to germinate, but some cultivars may take longer than others.
As and when any seeds germinate, place in a cool location outside and prick out when the plants are sturdy and roughly 2 inches in height. Young seedlings can either be pricked out into a seed tray or alternatively directly into individual pots depending on how well plants are established. Even at this stage, young seedlings need continuous care and attention ensuring they are kept damp and out of direct sunlight.