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Fun Flowers to Grow From Seed – Tidy Tips

tidy tips flowers

 

Tidy tips are also known as poached egg flowers. I had some years ago that I bought as plants. They reseeded for a couple years, then got lost in the scheme of things because their seedlings look a lot like a weed that is very prolific in my yard. I always liked their white tipped, but mostly yellow daisy-like petals, but didn’t see them as seeds or plants for a long time. Until this year, when I saw their seeds on the Swallowtail Garden Seeds website. (click on any photo to enlarge)

 

The tidy tips seeds are lightly scattered. I will barely sprinkle some potting soil over them.

The tidy tips seeds are lightly scattered. I will barely sprinkle some potting soil over them.

 

This spring I grew tidy tips from seed myself, in my greenhouse. I began them in February, which I will tell you now was too early. But I didn’t know how long they would take to sprout, and many flowers with such small seeds can take 2-3 weeks to sprout. In fact, the instructions said to expect 14-28 days. Not so in my greenhouse. The tidy tips sprouted within a few days. They also defied the common tendency of many small flower seeds to sprout into miniature, barely visible plants. They were sturdy from the beginning.

 

The tidy tip seeds are small and tended to stick to damp hands.

The tidy tip seeds are small and tended to stick to damp hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tidy tips that have recently germinated are very basic looking plants, with indistinct first leaves.

Tidy tips that have recently germinated are very basic looking plants, with indistinct first leaves.

 

My basic seed starting technique was more than adequate for these flowers. They sprouted reliably, all within ┬áthe same couple of day, and it looked like nearly every seed germinated, too. Since they were good-sized from the start, they needed prompt thinning, which they didn’t exactly get, but when I did get to it, the remaining plant in the pot took off in growth. It being early in the seed-starting season, I also got carried away transplanting some of the extras from each pot, so had an abundance of of tidy tips flourishing.

 

Here the tidy tips are growing well. I have thinned some, but there is obviously more to do!

Here the tidy tips are growing well. I have thinned some, but there is obviously more to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this case, the seedlings had small enough roots and were spaced so that I could gently pull the extras without disturbing the ones I was leaving to grow.

In this case, the seedlings had small enough roots and were spaced so that I could gently pull the extras without disturbing the ones I was leaving to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tidy tips young seedling roots

tidy tips young seedling roots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had thinned and transplanted the tidy tips, they grew even more quickly. Here they are hardening off during the warmer days on my south facing patio.

Once I had thinned and transplanted the tidy tips, they grew even more quickly. Here they are hardening off during the warmer days on my south facing patio.

 

 

It was challenging to manage them in the greenhouse for a few weeks, as it was too cold to plant them out, but they had so much growth that they were sucking up water from their relatively small pots. Fortunately, they still grew low to the ground, like a spiral mat of sorts. And there were enough warm days in March that I could harden them off.

 

What the root bound tidy tips looked like before I roughed up their root ball.

What the root bound tidy tips looked like before I roughed up their root ball.

 

 

Then, since I saw they are considered wild flowers, albeit in warmer California, but also considered a sunflower of sorts, I decided to go ahead and plant them out and keep an eye on night time lows. They were fairly root bound by then, but I rough the roots up, breaking the outer layers so that they would be stimulated to feel free to grow out into the rest of the soil. And, of course, I watered them in well right after transplanting.

 

 

And now the root ball has been stimulated so that they roots will feel free to grow outward into the soil.

And now the root ball has been stimulated so that they roots will feel free to grow outward into the soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watering them in right after transplanting.

Watering them in right after transplanting.

 

 

While the low temperatures got down in the mid 30′s (F) a few nights, my biggest problem was that the irrigation water was not turned on and there was not much rainfall in March or April. And I had planted them about half an acre away from the house. I managed to keep them alive using some long hose combos from the house and was rewarded with pretty flowers early on.

 

 

I planted them the suggested 12 inches apart, but it remains to be seen how well they fill in. I think they have potential as a bedding plant, but some of my plants might have been stressed just enough that they won’t fill out quite as much as normal. I will try to remember to add a photo later in the season as an update.

This group of tidy tips has filled out decently after about a month. This is also where I found my first seed head. (The plants in the background are a peony on your left and perennial painted daisy on your right.

This group of tidy tips has filled out decently after about a month. This is also where I found my first seed head. (The plants in the background are a peony on your left and perennial painted daisy on your right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Already partially blown away, I was still able to collect quite a few seeds from this stem.

Already partially blown away, I was still able to collect quite a few seeds from this stem.

 

I have already collected my first tidy tip seeds this year. They are similar to fluffy dandelion seed heads, so if you want help spreading them, you might look for a toddler or two to blow them across the garden bed. I have put my these new seeds in one of the amber jars I purchased a few years ago for seed saving, but I will leave the lid open a while to make sure they are dry.

 

The tidy tip seeds wanted to blow out of my hand, too, but I was able to hang on to most of them.

The tidy tip seeds wanted to blow out of my hand, too, but I was able to hang on to most of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tidy tip seeds are safely in the jar, but drying thoroughly with the lid off. One of the advantages of southwest Idaho is that I can count on things getting dry.

The tidy tip seeds are safely in the jar, but drying thoroughly with the lid off. One of the advantages of southwest Idaho is that I can count on things getting dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also want to see if I can be better at identifying their volunteers next spring. It will be useful to see what time of year they sprout. Monitoring that will give me a better idea of when I can safely plant out any starts that I grow next year. It seems that I can probably plan on tidy tips being a regular part of spring around here.

Can you see all the puckered up tidy tips that are ready to bloom?

Can you see all the puckered up tidy tips that are ready to bloom?

 

 

 

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