Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions and answers which we often deal with. If you have a question that is not covered here, please contact us.
How long do the seeds last?
Each species is different, but most will last 3-4 years under proper storage conditions. The exception is alliums (onions and chives) which only keep 1-2 years. To keep your seeds “fresh,” we recommend that you store them in a cool, dry, dark place. One technique is to put the seed packets in an airtight container with some dry rice grains in the bottom to moderate the humidity (like mixing dry rice with salt in the salt shaker to keep it flowing). If space allows, you can also store your seeds in the refrigerator or freezer (in an airtight container). Allow seeds to return to room temperature overnight before opening the container to prevent condensation that may spoil the seeds.
Do your wildflower seed mixes contain annuals and perennials?
Yes, they do. The annuals provide colourful results the first season, since most of the perennials will not produce blossoms the first year. If you are planting to help the pollinators, this provides critical pollen and nectar which the perennials won’t produce until subsequent years. The perennials will take over in the following years and the annuals will re-seed themselves a bit.
What do the terms annual, perennial, and biennial mean?
Annual plants grow, flower, and produce seed all in one growing season, and then they die. The aboveground parts of perennials die back in the fall, but their roots overwinter and resprout in the spring, year after year. Biennial plants complete their life cycles in two years. The first season, they grow only leaves; the second season they produce flowers and seed, and then die.
What are Open-Pollinated Seeds?
Left to the bees and other natural pollinators, plants produce seeds that are the result of pollination with any other compatible plants in the area. Open-pollinated seeds are what you get naturally. Seeds saved from open-pollinated plants will give you more or less the same mixture of colours, sizes or heights as the original plants.
What are Hybrids?
Hybrids are plants with mixed parentage. They're plants with a large number of genes for different things (colour, height, size of flowers) in them, so you get a mixture of colours, heights and flower size from their seeds. If seed growers have selected one thing, such as colour, and grown only the plants that have flowers with that colour, and collected seeds from only that colour, and done that for several generations of plants, you'll end up with plants that have mostly that colour flowers. But they will still have a few genes for other colours, and if they are grown near other plants of the same type with other colour flowers, they will cross-fertilise and the seeds will have genes for all the colours, and will produce plants with different colours.
How do I know if seeds are viable?
Viable seeds are healthy seeds. Often, they look healthy - they're shiny, fat, heavy and tough (all relative to the weight and size of a seed). Sometimes, they aren't all those things, but a good seed - even a flat one like a lily - will still have a bit of 'body' where the embryo is, or be too strong to squash or cut with a finger nail.