Weird Craspedia

I’m trying craspedia globosa for the first time and it’s been interesting.  The seeds are kinda strange-looking to start with, all covered with light-colored fuzz.  And when they soak up some water, they expand a bit and the fuzz swells until it looks more like tiny quills than fuzz.  Germination  brings more strangeness, at least in some cases.  A number of the sprouts appear to have confused roots; instead of driving their tip downward through the planting mix, the leaves are hoisted upward, with the root growing on the wrong end and getting longer and longer above the surface.  At least that’s what it looks like to me.  See what you think.

Root Growing Backward?

Root Growing Backward?

You can see the normal seedlings in surrounding cells.  Another name for the plant is golden drumstick.  I’m hoping they will look good in bouquets of sunflowers and zinnias when they grow up to look like this:

craspedia

3/12/2010 … After thinking about this more, I believe what happened to some of the seedlings is that the growing root ran into a solid piece of something in the mix and was stopped dead.  In agreement with Newton’s third law of motion, the force of the growing root pushed the leafy section upward rather than the root tip going downward.  This year, I’ll be using a seed starter mix with finer particles in it, and we’ll see if that helps.  I’m not sure why craspedia was so susceptible to this effect, as I did see it in a few other types of seedlings as well, though not to as great an extent.

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Comments on: "Weird Craspedia" (22)

  1. Hey, Tom, how did your craspedia turn out? I’m trying some this season for the first time. Do you have any growing tips from your expereience last year? Were you able to save seeds from your plants? I bought fresh seeds from GeoSeeds so hopefully they will germinate well.

    Thanks!
    Steve
    GardenWeb: steve22802

  2. Steve, it turned out just fine. It takes quite a while to produce flowers, though, and I didn’t get many from each plant. I’ve done it two years running now, and I think I’ll skip it this year. I thought it was very cool, but it was rare for a customer to comment on it at all. The stems are nice and tall, but the one inch flower size doesn’t make them very noticeable. All in all, I think I won’t miss it.

    • Thanks for the reply. For some reason I was imagining that the balls would be a bigger diameter although the descriptions clearly state that one should expect 1″ diameter. I also noticed that they are a perennial down to z8 (10 degrees.) It only gets slightly colder than that here in the Shenandoah Valley so I think I will see if I can get them to overwinter with some extra protection. Maybe that would give me an earlier and fuller bloom.

  3. I would grow them again if I could get them to winter over here and maybe multiply too.

  4. Hi there–I am also trying to grow Craspedia globosa from seed myself and I put them in Cactus medium for about 2 weeks. Do you remember how long it takes for them to germinate? I’m here in So. Ca and I planted it indoors. Would love any advice or tips, thanks!

  5. thinmac said:

    Hi Vicky, you should be seeing some sprouts any day now. Two weeks plus is about how long it takes if I remember it right. The only tip I have is that you will need to start fertilizing them after a few weeks. I use fish emulsion. Other than that, they seem to be pretty easy to grow. Good luck with yours.

    • Ah, thanks for the insight! Did you spray with water during the 2 weeks in its germination period?

  6. Hi Tom, my fiance was wanting to get some of these for our wedding centerpieces. How long do they generally take to produce blooms after planting? Any tips for the first time gardener?

  7. thinmac said:

    Cory, in the Johnny’s Seed catalog they claim that it takes from 140 – 160 days from seed to flower and my experience has been exactly that. Last year I started mine inside on March 28 and harvested the first flowers on August 24. Maybe you read my comment that I wasn’t going to bother with them any more because of their small size.

    Once you get them going, they aren’t very hard to grow. Average soil works fine. Timing is the hard part. When they are ready to pick, each flower will have a few days’ window when it will look good, and after about two weeks the blooming will be over for most of the plants. If the weather has been cooperative and your wedding ends up in that two week window, you win.

    Good luck, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

    • Dear Tom,

      All this advice is ace! I’m about to plant these for my wedding in September. Please can you tell me:
      Can they grow in a window box?
      Do I need to start each seed individually?
      Do they like sun?
      How many flowers from one seedling?
      What would be the BEST kind of soil?

      I’m a terrible gardener but keep on trying! I’m in the UK so we don’t get much heat over the summer… I hope they work!

      Thanks, love the blog.

      Anna

  8. Anna, thanks very much for writing, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I don’t know of any reason why craspedia wouldn’t do well in a window box, as long as it got enough sunlight. Yes, they do like full sun.

    I’m not sure what you mean by starting each seed individually. I use the plastic trays with individual compartments you see in the photo, but you could start them in any kind of container or tray you have, as long as it is kept moist and warm.

    I got only two or three flowers from each plant. They are not very prolific, and, like many flowers, they are just right for picking for only one to two weeks. Getting them timed just right to be ready for your wedding will likely be tricky, so I hope you have lots of backup flowers planned in case they are not on time.

    As far as soil goes, craspedia doesn’t seem to be very fussy. Any average soil should do. Good luck with your growing efforts.

    • Thanks for the sterling advice! Now must buy seeds (!) I do indeed have other flower plans so don’t worry… I just thought I’d have a bash with these. I’ll let you know if I’m successful. Best, Anna.

  9. JOSEPH NJUGUNA said:

    kindly assist me with information regarding a proper way to plant the craspedia seedlings from the nursery.

  10. Sr. thinmac. en bolivia estoy tratando de realizar un trabajo de investigacion, quisiera porfavor que me proporcione informacion sobre Craspedia, si existe algun guia online o algun documento pdf que me lo pueda proporcionar se lo agradeceria mucho. cualquier informacion me lo puede enviar a mi correo electronico porfavor. delajoda_luna@hotmail.com
    gracias de antemano.

  11. Sr. Luna, Lo siento que no tengo ningún especial información sobre craspedia a compartir con ustedes.

  12. Hello Steve,

    Great information about this beautiful flower. I also want want to plant Crapedias for my wedding(mid 2014). I have no idea how to do it but I will figure out. The wedding will be in Brazil, and there is no Craspedias in Brazil! I live in Chicago, and I would like to ask you where can I buy the seeds on the Internet? Could you please recommend me a good website? Thank you!

    • I bought my seeds from GeoSeeds. They have a huge selection of seeds and good prices but their catalog is just text, no pictures because GeoSeeds targets commercial growers who know what they want. (Anyone can order from them.) Johnny’s Seeds has Craspedia too but it’s more expensive for the same quantity of seeds.

    • As a cut flower grower, I would not recommend growing craspedia. The plant takes a long time to flower and the production is very disappointing in the Midwest area. You would need to devote at least a 50′ row in order to get enough for a wedding. And you must seed RIGHT NOW in trays, then plant the matured seedlings as soon as you can, covering with a frost blanket. It’s honestly not worth the trouble. We buy from the local wholesaler for weddings or you can purchase dried craspedia by the bunch online(it looks exactly the same). It’ll save you tons of work and disappointment.

  13. Hi Mirielle.

    I’ve seen the seeds in several different online catalogs. For the small quantity that you will need I would just go with JohnnySeeds.com.

  14. Not sure if you will check this older feed. I’m growing craspedia as a perennial here in San Diego, CA. I’ve had them about 2years. My plants are doing quite well. If I wanted to propagate them, do you know how to harvest the seeds? Are the balls the seed? The plants look like I might be able to divide them, too?

    • Hi, Jenny. I’ve never tried saving the seeds from craspedia. I would guess that, like a lot of flowers, you would just let the flower head (the ball) mature and dry out. Then get the seeds from that. I think you would probably get a bunch from each head.

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