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January 5, 2008

I just love gaillardia and I'd like to have lots more of them. I've been trying to grow them from seed several times but none have germinated. I've always planted the seeds inside but last year I tried WS them. I bought 2 varieties and nothing sprouted. What bothers me is that I get no germination at all. Do any of you have any idea why?

Thanx for your help, Barbara.

Comments (55)

  • kqcrna

    It's a booger for me, too. Using both commercial and saved seeds, I have managed to get just a few goblin and 2 burgundy to sprout. The germination rate was very low for 2 years. Trying different approaches, last year I sowed burgundy in January and goblin in March, results weren't stellar on either. (Clothier says 68 degrees germ in less than 2 weeks.)

    I had read here on the forum that it can be propagated from an existing plant by slicing into the root in fall. I did that in autumn '06 and it put out a few babies in spring '07. I failed to do that this fall. It's going to be warm for a few days- maybe I have to get out there with my butcher knife...


  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Karen, what you said about sowing in January and March made me go look at my records.

    For what it's worth, I sowed the 9 Burgundy seeds (no germination at all) on February 9th. I sowed the 6 Red Plume seeds (4 germinated) on March 5th.

    Whether that difference of a month had something to do with the successful germination, I don't know. I didn't plan it that way or do it on purpose, it just happened that that was when I sowed - I kind of sow things at a whim on the day of sowing.

    Actually, since I do usually do my perennials earlier, I can't help but think I just happened to find those Red Plume seeds in March, and had forgotten about them earlier, lol!

    Anyway, just throwing out this info on timing of sowing in case it is of any help....


  • pufftrinket

    Gaillardia is one of my favorites, and a staple in my garden. Once it's in, it seems unstoppable. Mine are still green today, under the snow. Unbelievable.

    I did have trouble germinating them with WS last year, too. I got about 1/3 germination of what I planted. I think some of the containers were too wet. The ones I moved to more sun, and on top of mulch- which let the containers drain better than on flat surface- did better.

    Those plants came out of the contaners and went into the ground in March... so tiny I thought they'd die. But they grew HUGE and bloomed by July- and all through August and September.

  • trudi_d

    I have also had low germination gaillardia, it just may be that the seeds are persnickety. Fresh seeds do germinate far better than older ones, but that seems true with all species. I finally had good germination last year with seeds I had collected at the end of season from plants growing in a butterfly garden at a Nature Center at the beach--they reseed there every year and I think the key is in the sandy, well draining soil.

  • vera_eastern_wa

    Yes...mine are in REALLY gravelly sandy loam soil and even with all the spring wet there are always re-seeders popping up. I hate to say it but they don't all get to stay so most seedlings get tossed! Had I have known I would have packed them up and shipped them too you!! Whaaaaaaaaa!!! Mine are common G. aristata and G. aristata 'Burgundy'. I love to send seeds, but gotta take my seed reserve back to Nebraska. Initially I wintersowed using regular ol' Miracle Gro potting soil.

    I hope to see you with seedlings next spring!!! Good luck!


  • gjmancini

    I also have had trouble, no luck ever in 3 yrs trying to ws gaillardia.

  • kqcrna

    Well, isn't Vera just a showoff! :-)

  • sunset_in

    I had better germination with the gaillardia seeds that I WS last year (both commercial & trades) by barely covering the seeds with dirt. It seem like the seeds that were still visible (with one end of the seed in the soil), a lot of them germinated. I think I might have read that here on GW. Not for sure!. The burgandy gaillardia seeds that I completely covered, did not germinate at all. I am not real positive if that has anything to do with it, but I am going to plant them that way again this year.

  • ghoghunter

    I can't get galliardia to germinate either. I've tried two years in a row. I don't feel like wasting any more time with it except it's such a pretty plant!

  • proudgm_03

    That's depressing news for a newbie.

  • greylady_gardener

    "It seem like the seeds that were still visible (with one end of the seed in the soil), a lot of them germinated. I think I might have read that here on GW. Not for sure!."

    You could be right because I recently read that marigold seeds should be planted with the dark part in the soil and the lighter coloured end sticking out. Maybe that is the way that these seeds should be planted.......with the little bristly/fuzzy end sticking out....worth a try anyway. :)

  • bakemom_gw

    Seriously! Spring or summer sow the darn thing. I also have success winter sowing as well. Do not give up.

    Should I go harvest a bunch of my tough guys? Maybe if you have my seeds - and these were true winter sown - you will have success.

    Also, one important thing to note - sometimes the seeds are not mature. You want the ones with the hard little point - not flat.

  • etravia

    Mine sprouted last year but didn't make it though the July drought. I hope I can get my little goblins to sprout this year. I'll plant them with their fannys in the air & hope for the best!

  • kqcrna

    This thread doesn't give me a lot of hope for the burgundy I sowed yesterday. But at least I know I'm in good company.


  • highalttransplant

    Hey, does anyone else that has sown these before think the seeds look like little badminton shuttlecocks? Hehehehe!

    When I was cleaning my large bowl of gaillardia 'Goblin' seeds the other day, I noticed this, and also found that when I tried to pick them up, they shot all over the place like a bunch of tiddleywinks!

    Happy sowing!

  • kilngod

    Have hope - all you need is One to grow.

  • greylady_gardener

    Bonnie! I found that my gazania seeds DID shoot all over LOL!! I had a hard time keeping them where they were supposed to be.

  • greylady_gardener

    Bonnie! I found that my gazania seeds DID shoot all over LOL!! I had a hard time keeping them where they were supposed to be.

  • fairydancer

    I didn't have any luck winter sowing them for a number of years. I bought some commercial seeds to sow indoors last year.....had better luck. What I did notice with the commercial seeds was that they didn't come with the cone (badminton shuttlecocks) like the ones I harvested and recieved in trades. It made me look closer at the seed packs I harvested and got in trades. Most of these, I believe were NOT mature - they didn't have the dark brown seed inside the cone. I was very careful when I collected seed this year and saved only the ones that clearly had seed inside. Hopefully this will make the difference.

    Good luck to us all.


  • lblack61

    The regular orange and red one did well for me in 2005-2006, although it looked sickly until the following year.
    I did burgundy last year and it bloomed late summer-- a small plant with small blooms, but I'm sure it will put on a good show next year, if it does like the regular ones.

    Funny thing with last year: many things that WSed poorly for me in past years were some of my first sprouters in 2007. So it's definitely a "try, try again" again kind of a thing.


  • limequilla

    I was wondering,

    Of the people who have had some success with this plant, were your seeds from the taller Gaillardia plants, about 24" tall? Maybe those taller ones are easier to grow and the smaller hybrids are actually sterile, meaning not totally sterile, but maybe only 1 of 1000 seeds will sprout.

    Also, Fairydancer, are you saying to look for seed that is actually a brown thing inside the shuttle cock? Do we peel it open or should it just be there and come out easily? I need to find a pack, Oh, have on right here. LOL.

    If I roll the seeds around between my fingers HARD, they disintegrate. I'm thinking they aren't good. After doing it a couple of times, it's a lot easier on the fingers to press down on them on the table. These are like an extra firm pillow. But nothing inside. Well, you saved me a couple dollars in potting soil, anyway. LOL!

    Nother Update
    I'm back. After doing several packets, Burgundy was the only one that had seeds. (if these are indeed seeds, I thik they are, though.) Some were round and some appeared tear drop shaped (Unless that was part of the shuttle cock that I didn't rub off all the way.)

    Veddy interesting! Thanks for the thread topic, wthros, and thanks for all the info ladies!


  • kilngod

    Yes, quite interesting! I will never harvest this seed the same, and will be rolling shuttlecocks around first to inspect. Now I wish I hadn't sown most of my Gaillardias already. Will still hope for the best!

  • proudgm_03

    Would someone show pictures of the seeds so that the rest of us know what you are talking about? I just sowed my seeds the way I received them.

  • kqcrna

    I will post a link to pictures of the seeds in PDF format; you can click and enlarge for a good shot.

    I'm getting a kick out of all of this because I've been there, done that. Having noted like Lime that commercial seeds are clean little nuggets, I collected seeds at varying stages this summer and dissected them in bright light with a magnifying glass. Never was sure about the seeds, generally guessing that the birds had already harvested. I trashed a large bag of them and decided that this might be the one seed I should buy rather than save my own, or try to propagate by division. Problem with the division is they don't live long enough. I went out and examined my plants yesterday. One burgundy is still green and healthy, one looks dead. Only one of several goblins looks good.

    Maybe I need to stick to zinnias.


    Here is a link that might be useful: gaillardia seeds

  • remy_gw

    I had success winter sowing last year of one variety, and I didn't have many seeds so it is possible. I had less than 10 seeds, and if I remember correctly the trader had seeds that were not viable in with them. I sowed them on Feb. 9. I don't know if covering them hinders germination, but I never really cover my seeds. I sort of fluff the top of the soil with a fork, sprinkle seeds, and then water with my kitchen sink sprayer.
    This year I collected seeds from that plant. I did find not all seeds to be viable especially the later in the season ones. Probably there weren't as many pollinaters out and about. The earlier ones that I collected that are viable are hard below the hairy part. The others just squish in.

    Shuttlecock is often used as the description for the seeds! : )

  • remy_gw

    I forgot to add the gaillardia sprouted on April 17.

  • bakemom_gw

    I have winter sown with success:

    Gaillardia Golden
    the regular gaillardia
    and goblin
    and another variety someone sent me - perhaps from Alberta - like Arizona sun or something.

    I have also winter sown the annuals
    Fanfare (annual for me)
    bi-color sundance

    I am really suprised at how many people have trouble germinating this one. It's pretty easy for me. I don't concern myself with covering them or removing the seed from the shuttlecock - I just toss them in a jug like everything else. They seem to germinate at about the same time rudbeckias germinate - maybe a tad later.

    I had higher germination with my goldens spring sowing them.

  • MissMyGardens

    I bought Gaillardia RazzleDazzle from Valueseeds.com which are classified as "pulchella." They turn out to be annuals which is fine for my needs. Haven't opened seed pack yet so have no idea what they look like.

    Most of the other kinds mentioned on this thread are the perennials "aristata" or "grandiflora" so maybe that makes a difference.

    The TM sowing directions say to cover very lightly with vermiculite and don't exclude light as they need light to germinate. These are indoor germination instructions and don't know exactly what vermiculte sprinkle is for (unless to create damping off barrier) but I'll make sure they get good light exposure after snow melts off containers and they're getting good light in early spring by moving from wintering spot to more sunny location without letting them fry before I know it.

    If all else fails come late May/early June I'll buy a plant at the cheapest place I can find...LOL.

    Being my first year at this I was panicking when I read all the "lack of germination" by experienced WSers but all one can do is try it and see what happens. But I will have Gaillardia in and around that butterfly garden as well as in some containers next year!

  • kqcrna

    It's beautiful here today- sunny and in the 60s. I went out to the yard and collected some still present seedheads from goblin and burgundy. I have dissected the remains with a good magnifying glass, and I swear these are not seeds. They look just like the picture above. I guess the birds got them or something. How do they find them? Is my IQ lower than a bird's?

    This is too aggravating. I'll buy stupid seeds or grow zinnias.

    BTW, except for one burgundy, most of them don't look so hot. Interestingly, in late summer one goblin put out one LONG stem. It kept growing and branching as the rest of the plant got worse looking. (So what's this?) I made a shallow trench, buried part of the stem and staked it down. It's pretty green, the only green visible on several goblins. Hopefully that one will root there and I can sever it and have a new one next summer.

    I also sliced into where I thought the root might be on some of them, as I mentioned above. In spring I'll see if any of these things helps.

    Bakemom, did your Fanfare come true to the type? From saved seed?


  • bakemom_gw

    I believe it did and it was either saved or traded seed.

  • kqcrna

    Oh great. I read that it can only be propagated vegetatively. Bakemom can even grow that one, and I can't even grow the !@#$% ones that are supposed to grow from seed.


  • remy_gw

    Lol Karen! I have faith that you will get some Gaillardia to germinate. : )
    Fanfare can have babies that are not the same. This is 'Jean's Solid Gold' that I WSed this year.


  • bakemom_gw

    I don't remember the exact facts, but I remember that I was VERY suprised. It might have been one of those happy accidents.

    Karen - try sowing them in April. This might end up being my pet project this year to encourage others to grow. Last year it was sea holly.

    I took the day off today (we all did - post BCS recovery) and I'm going to put harvesting Gaillardia on my list.

  • thelwig55

    I have never WS but I have grown fanfare, burg, hybrid mix and goblin by seed, in plug trays with promix with a humanity dome over it. My seeds were from swallowtail seeds online store and they must be surfaced sowed, need light to germinate. I would think ws would work, but maybe use a container that is open and put clear plastic over. This is my first year WS so I can not say it would work, just thinking they need more light than they are getting in jug, or people are covering they seeds.
    Hope this helps

  • helenbell702

    Hi. Just joined. Saw the messages on gaillardia. I bought a plant, planted it, and the following year had plants all over the yard. I live in Vegas where the soil is sandy with plenty of rocks. Maybe heat and sandy soil is a good combo.

  • mnwsgal

    I wintersowed Gaillardia 'Burgundy' and 'Fanfare', from seed that I collected, on 3-8-07 and had germination on 4-28 for both. The seeds were surface sowed and lightly patted into the mix with the back of a spoon. Both bloomed and were shared with my neighbor.

  • ptp813

    I actually sowed burgundy gaillardia on Dec 25th (we celebrated over the weekend with family) and I now have three babies sprouting in my containers due to the warmer weather we have had. I am so excited to have sprouts, but now concered at to whether or not they will survive.

    When I planted them I did the typical watering of the soil and put them into the soil one by one with the little end down into the soil. I had read that in a post a long time ago. They seem to be sprouting from the center of the cone part of the seed.


  • whtros

    All your cheering worked, Dee!!
    I'm so excited!! Thanx so much to all 3 of you who sent me seeds! I've WS'd quite a few from each outside. But I also sowed a few from each inside and I'm thrilled they have been sprouting this last week! Thanx, also, for the Newbie Pkts. I'm WS'ing a lot more this year and trying different containers besides jugs. But I have to sow some inside under shop lights, too. I love to see the "miracle of birth" and watch them grow. A Great Big Thank You to Trudi and Everyone on the WS Forum. As much as I like to tend my flock of seedlings in my basement, I can't grow all I want down there so am grateful for this WS forum. Here's some pictures from last year.
    Thanx and Best Wishes, Barbara

  • MissMyGardens

    Karen, thank you SO much for posting that link for the "seed images" for gaillardia.

    Since I don't know what any seeds look like "up close and personal" it was a great resource find for me.

    Been looking all over the web for a site that has seed images and couldn't come up with anything.

    Site doesn't have all flower seeds but enough of the ones I'm sowing that it's a great help.

    Now I just have to remember all the "put brown side down" or "keep their bottoms up in the air" and all the particulars other people post for different things...LOL.

    Bakemom probably has the right idea although she probably has a higher tolerance for "try, try again" than I do... just throw 'em in and let 'em grow!

    Honestly, though, I'm saving some of each seed packet to spring sow after frost just in case. Like someone else said...just need ONE to grow to be satisfied this year.

    Since we haven't even had snow yet here it's all up to mother nature whether things make it through what I have to assume will be a snowy early spring. We can't escape snow altogether and my bulbs are up to 8" tall already.

    Guess we can't rule nature, including the weather, and we don't always get to choose what germinates or blooms this year or next!

  • kqcrna

    Update on gaillardia here.

    Following bakemom's tip, I spring sowed burgundy gaillardia using commercial seeds. I now have 10 seedlings in that jug, more than I ever got by wintersowing.

    Also, as I described above, late last summer one of my goblins put out one LONG stem, twice the length of any other stem, as the mother plant declined. I buried that stem in a small trench in fall, and it is putting out 2 babies (one now quite big) growing off of that buried stem. The mother plant did not come back.

    I sliced into the root balls as described above on several goblins and burgundys, too, in fall. I now have dozens of seedlings coming up in those beds, right around the mother plants which died over winter. In all honestly some of these could be rud volunteers, I never can tell these tiny fuzzy seedlings apart.

    They never used to reseed for me, but slicing into the rootball in late summer/fall really seems to work. I think I read that tip in plantfiles.

    Seems I might have enough gaillardia seedlings for all the neighbors this year.


  • richdelmo

    FWIW, I ws 20 Goblin Gaillardia in February all in the little Jiffy peat pellets that many people don't like. Anyway 19 of the 20 have sprouted, no special care just kept them moist. Based on what others are saying guess I,m pretty lucky with these guys.

  • farfaraway

    Wow, I had no idea gaillardia was difficult! I sowed perennial gaillardia and also some annual bi-color sundance, and have lots of sprouts. I've already planted out my perennial gaillardia. Maybe it's just dumb beginner's luck!

  • sandlapper_rose

    I didn't have trouble with it either. I got all of the following to grow:
    Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' planted 3/8 - sprouts 3/18
    Gaillardia 'Fanfare' planted 3/8 - sprouts 3/18
    Gaillardia 'Goblin' planted 2/9 - sprouts 2/18
    Gaillardia 'Burgundy' planted 2/9 - sprouts 3/5
    Gaillardia 'Oranges & Lemons' planted 2/9 - sprouts 2/24
    I planted them the same way I plant all my winter sowing seeds so I can't offer any help. The plants were a little slow to increase in size, but are grwoing pretty well now. Hopefully, I will have seeds in the fall. All of the seeds that I planted were from GardenWeb trades.

  • flowerchild5

    i have all the same seeds as just mentioned above and i've only had one jug (can't remember which.) germinate. i check them every day. i am glad (okay, not glad) i am whatever it is i want to say....that i am not the only one. sheesh, that was hard.

  • bjames

    My question is about gaillardia seeds. I bought a pack of Burpee Gaillardia Goblin seeds, sowed them in a pot, and after germinating, they are now about 4'' tall. However, they do NOT look anything like gaillardia plants!! I know what the mature plant looks like as I have some in my garden. I have more than the first set of leaves on each seedling. I might have thought that the wrong seeds were placed in the pack of seeds, but, I am familiar with the gaillardia seed. They are black seeds with a tuft of hairlike fuzz on the other end, and that is what all of these seeds were. What's with these seedlings? Do you have any ideas? Could these be Gaillardias? I will be patient and continue to care for and watch these, but I hope that someone will have had the same experience with gaillardia seeds and offer reassurance to me. Thanks so much.
    Blanche James

  • perennialprobowler

    I am addicted to gaillardia if anyone has any to share. I'm interested. I'm wintersowing some this week.

  • starchild2008

    I have tried to grow them twice before and had no germination. This time I used an actual flower and so far hve only a few up. Meanwhile everything else is up and doing well. I did get dampening off but usually in my experience they grow through it anyway. Does anyone have any seeds to the original blanket flowers? I had them in a brown bag and I'm pretty sure I didn't plant them all due to the fact they never grew before and usually I don't plant all of anything unless there's only like 25 seeds; i can't find the stupid bag. it just figures. at any rate, I'm looking for the original heirloom perennial blanket flowers. They also have a weird little flower thing, and i notice that some of them don't have a brown seed in them - that's a problem, and some of them did. I wish I could find the rest of them. I was counting on a flat - now I'll be happy if I get any. Why are they so hard to grow?

  • ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

    I had good germination with the seeds I took from my red gaillairdia. I am looking forward to more of the red, which are my favorite. Just planted them out yesterday. Sorry I have no more seeds to offer, I didn't hang on to them. Wish you luck...

  • gapetrie28

    PROBLEM SOLVED! I have previously had very poor Gaillardia seed germination. This year, I used some seeds from the fall of 2006 and had very good luck. I took the time to poke the pointed end of each seed into the soil, leaving the "feathery" end exposed.

  • whtros

    They are my favorite flower but can't grow them. They don't like my clay soil. I've tried different amendments but they always die and sometimes don't even live the entire summer.

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