Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea (Purple Japanese Burnet) [20 Seeds]


Germination Information: I recommend these seeds for experienced seed-starters only, because germination can be slow and irregular, requiring some patience. The easiest approach is to surface-sow (do not cover) the seeds in a pot in fall to late winter, setting them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after February, set the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about a month before moving it to a warm, 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 in warm, moist, bright conditions. But if you try that and no seedlings appear within 6 weeks or so, then try the refrigerator-chilling approach above before moving them back to warmth and light.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Purple Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea or S. tenuifolia ‘Purpurea’) produces reddish purple flower heads atop 5- to 7-foot-tall stems in late summer into fall. It’s typical for the heads to be long enough to nod, but sometimes they are shorter and more upright. There’s variability in the plant height and amount of branching too: plenty of possibilities for selecting plants with the traits you prefer. The multi-part green leaves turn yellow in fall. Full sun to light shade; soil that is on the moist side is best. Perennial; Zones 4 to 8.

Please be aware that it takes several years for Japanese burnet to really look good when you grow it from seed. I have found that older plants are also slow to settle in after transplanting, though—if you can even find them for purchase—so seed is a reasonable way to go. Figure on waiting until year 3, at least, for the first flowers, and don’t be disappointed if the flower stems tend to be sprawly for the first few years. Eventually, the plant will fill out and the flower stalks tend to be sturdier, but even then, the tall stalks may tend to lean or flop. I have found that pruning the plants can really help to eliminate the need for staking or propping-up. For more information on pruning options, combination ideas, and more, check out the post I wrote on this species a few years ago: One Plant, Three Seasons: Sanguisorba tenuifolia.

Harvested in October 2020. Each packet contains at least 20 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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