Hummingbird Farm now offers seed! Our seed can be found thru the EcoSeed COOP – a BC cooperative of farmers growing seed right here in BC! Find and order seed here —- BC Eco Seed Co-op
Because those seed packages are just so darn small…. this is the place to find detailed growing information about our seeds. As we are new to this seed venture we will be continuing to add details of our seeds as well as new ones over time, sign up for our email list to keep in the loop – link at bottom.
Rudbeckia Hirta Orange and Bronze shades
Rudbeckia Hirta is a short lived perennial in BC (zone 3 and up) that is a North American Native providing excellent pollinator food. It flowers the first year and then can live for 2 – 5 years after that and will readily seed in your garden to naturalize if you like that (if not, prune back in fall!) It is easy to start from seed, but there are a few tricks to increase your germination and success! About 6 weeks (max, but 1 – 5 weeks is fine as well) before you expect the last frost in your area is a good time to start in spring.
- It is best to plant in groupings (rather then 1 here and there) from a garden aesthetic in our opinion, so plant groups of 3, 5 or 7 plants and do more then one grouping if you have room. We suggest germinating twice as much as you think you need – so if you want 10 plants, do at least 20 seeds. If they all work and you have too much – what a nice thing to share! Almost all perennial and biennial flower seed benefits from a ‘cold stratification’ to trick it into thinking it has been hanging out for the winter waiting to get going in spring! Mist a paper towel so it is damp, not wet and sprinkle your seeds on. Place loosely in a plastic bag and pop in the fridge. After 3 or 4 days (or longer is fine), remove.
- That damp seed has now been activated and is ready to plant! It can be a little tricky to plant damp seed, the best way to do this for small seeds like this is with a pair of tweezers. Prepare a container if you have seed trays and dome use that but if not – a reused plastic clam shell that contained berries or salad is an excellent option with the clear lid. Make sure it fits on a sunny window sill (or you can use strip lighting). Fill with damp (not soggy) soil that you have purchased – a standard potting mix is great (native garden soil does not work as well). Evenly space the seeds on this soil bed and lightly sprinkle with additional damp soil (not too deep!). Pop on a sunny window sill. Mist/water lightly if it dries out and wait from 3 days to 10 days until your babies germinate. No need for bottom heat.
- Once they germinate remove plastic cover. Wait until they have formed a ‘true leaf’ then very carefully ‘prick out’ and transplant each one into its own container, previously used plant cell packs is just great. Look for pot size of a max of 4″. Even an old take out coffee cup is great.
- Leave uncovered and place back on that sunny window sill.
- Keep moist but not wet to grow happily until close to your last frost date (here in the Kootenay’s that is around the first week of May for most folks).
- Move outside during the day – protected from midday sun for about a week to ‘harden off’.
- Plant in your garden! About 1 to 2 feet apart prepare a nice hole (at least 1′ deep) for each plant. We highly recommend feeding the soil with some great amendments including some compost or manure. You want a couple of nice big shovels full for each plant, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of bone meal (excellent slow release phosphorus source for flowers), as well as 1/2 of green sand (slow release potassium). If you have trouble finding green sand (check at your local farmer supply), ask what you can use that is high in potassium (preferably slow release). You can also use wood ash if you have access to that – 1/2 cup per hole. Mix that all up in your nice big planting hole (build a $20 hole for a $5 plant!).
- Pinch! When the baby has a nice cluster of leaves and it looks like it wants to send up a single flower, pinch that off… I know its hard, but it is worth it! You want a bushy plant with LOTS of flowers not just one!
- Water deeply once a week – we want to get those roots deep. Perhaps more often the first year if it very dry, and less often in subsequent years as once established these are drought tolerant.
- Harvest your flowers! Check to see if they are ‘turgid’ (nice and rigid). Use the wiggle test for this, just wiggle the stem about 12″ below the flower, if it seams ‘floppy’ wait… when it is ready to cut – cut very deeply into the plant right down almost to the ground level as this will encourage additional flower stems and branching. You will not hurt the plant! don’t worry!
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