Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants


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.

Dramera begin to flower in mid May in Victoria, leafing out in early June.

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.

Darmera peltata

5 Responses to Growing Darmera peltata (Indian Rhubarb) From Seed

  • Kaidid says:

    I am from Malaysia the temperature is aroun 28-32celcius day time, night time is 29celcius.
    I kept them under the shade with very little sunshine. I sprinkle them to ta pot but it doesn’t grow at all.
    May i know what kind of soil that the plant need? What is the temperature that they need to grow this plant ?
    hope you could help me by giving some tips. thanks

  • Mary Cheleen says:

    How fun. Thanks for taking the time to document your experience.I work at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and we have an excellent clump if Indian Rhubarb growing in a shady, wet garden. I was able to locate seeds on-line from Sierra Seed Supply. Am about to plant in germination soil. Wish me luck. I love exotic plants.

  • Randy says:

    I’m curious what became of these seedlings. My plant just produced about 100 seeds a couple days ago. I planted a few yesterday; I imagine I should plant the rest soon.

    Great blog. Too bad you are in Canada–I have a few things on your wish list, some of which I can propagate from cuttings, but which I don’t have seed of. Lotus jacobaeus, I just found out, is very easy from cuttings.

  • Mary Roberts says:

    Would you have any idea where I could purchase seeds for the Darmera Peltada? I live in Kentucky,USA.


  • robert deroche says:

    just landed at your website. i’m interested in growing the indian rhubarb and sheep sorrel. would you have either of those seeds for sale ? maybe you might have some interesting other suggestions as well. my interests are herbals for cancer remedies, parasite cleanse, infusions. would love to here back. thanks much.

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.