Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’ (Columbine) [15 Seeds]
Germination Information: I recommend these seeds for experienced seed-starters only, because they may require some patience.
One approach is to surface-sow (do not cover) the seeds in a pot in fall to late winter. Set them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.
If you sow after February, consider setting the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about a month before moving it to a bright place for germination. (Remove the bag if the pot will be exposed to any direct sun.)
It is possible that these seeds could germinate if you sow them indoors under lights in spring, or outdoors in summer. But if you try that and no seedlings appear within a month or so, then try the refrigerator-chilling approach above before moving them back to a bright place.
Another tip: I like to pot up columbine seedlings in groups of three (spaced as far as possible within a 4- to 6-inch pot), then plant them out still in the groups. That way, if there are one or two off-type seedlings in a group when they first flower, you have the option of carefully cutting off the unwanted plant(s) at the very base, below the crown. (To be honest, I rarely see a columbine I don’t want, but I present this as a possible solution if you have your heart set on a particular color.) If all the seedlings in a group are pleasing to you, then you can leave them in place and get a nice clump quickly.
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‘Black Barlow’ columbine (Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’) typically produces very double flowers with deep burgundy to near-black petals atop branching, 2- to 3-foot-tall stems in late spring to early summer. Please be aware that off-type seedlings are possible, because columbines cross readily. So far, the seeds I’ve collected from my plants have all produced dark-flowered seedlings, and these plants are at least 50 feet away from other columbines in my garden, but there’s always a chance the bees could produce a surprise, so I can’t guarantee that every seedling will be a double black. (See the Germination Information section for a tip on handling that possibility.) Full sun to light shade. Perennial; Zones 3 to 9.
Collected in late June 2020. At least 15 seeds.
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