Astrantia (Masterwort) is a cottage garden plant that you don’t see around often. It has a particularly unusual and beautiful flower and I really fell for it the first time I saw it – though I can’t remember where or when.
Unfortunately, this Astrantia in the picture isn’t what I have in the garden, it was actually in an NGS Garden that we went to earlier this year. Recently however, I did buy an Astrantia plant when it suddenly appeared at reduced price in the local garden centre. I snapped it up but have kept it in its pot as I can’t make my mind up on where I want to plant it.
While I’ve been procrastinating about where it should go, it’s already set seed, which I’ve collected and just sowed in a multi-cell tray. I’ve tried looking on the internet for how to sow and germinate Astrantia and the general opinion is that it’s not easy and that’s why people buy them as plants. General advice varies:
- You may or may not need to stratify the seeds (put them in the fridge for a few weeks)
- Seeds are best sown fresh but even old seed can germinate
- There’s no real indication how long it takes for seed to germinate
- It seems you can sow seeds any time of year and they may come up, eventually
Overall, it’s not encouraging and so I’ve decided to experiment by splitting the seeds I’ve harvested in two. I’ve sown half now and will leave the rest in the greenhouse to over-winter and stratify. I’ll then sow those next spring and see what happens.
Either way, I hope I end up with lots of Astrantia seedlings. They apparently grow quite fast once they get going and flower early. The only trouble will be finding room to plant them as we really are running out of space!