Little Darmera peltata seedlings sprouted up a couple of days ago, and more are poking their heads up everyday. Let me explain how this came to be.
I first encountered Darmera peltata at the Uvic Plant Sale in early May. At the time they looked rather bland, I had no idea how amazing they would become. They were sold to me as small leafless stems of flowers in 1 gallon pots. It was coming to the end of the sale, and the lady at the table ended up giving me two specimens for the price of one. While I usually avoid duplicates in the garden, I had dreams of sprucing up my compost heap, and this is where they ended up. I dug two large holes on the pile, filled them in with fresh potting soil and placed in the two Darmera specimens. Within a couple days they started to really take off, the flower stems elongating and expanding into quite an unsual display of flowers.
As quickly as the flowers had arrived, they were spent, the little pink flowers lost their petals and started turning into seed pods. At this point the plant began to leaf out, and by mid June had impressive dinner plate sized leaves.
While doing my regular evening walk about, I noticed the seed pods had finally finished their development. The seed pods had dried up and were ready to distribute the precious seeds within. At the time I was tired of looking at the at the dried flower stalks and found this a suitable moment to remedy my visual discomfort. I cut off the stems and shook the seed pods into my hand. I distributed some of the some extra seed on the compost heap and I took the rest to try my hand at growing more. I set up a plug tray full of fresh peat moss and scattered the seed liberally. While I’m not a fan of thinning out over seeded pots, I felt a bit pessimistic about this chore and wanted the highest chance of success. After I had sowed a full tray of seed on the top of the peat, I sprinkled a little extra peat and misted gently to soak thoroughly. From here I just let the tray be, watering daily so as to maintain moisture levels. About 2-3 weeks later the Darmera seedlings began to appear. Once they can hold their own I will prick them out into their own pots and grow them on from there. I must admit I’m thrilled by the success of this experiment, as there was very little information online about such things. Hopefully by next season I have a small army of these plants.