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Perennials/Italian Heather


Hi Tom, Can you tell me if the dried-up flower pods from a dead Italian Heather plant be planted with any success? A friend of mine had a gorgeous potted Italian Heather and just let it dry out.
Janie Hartsfield

Hi Janice,
Thanx for your question.  I did a little research because I knew I had answered some questions a while back about Italian heather.  Here's info I gave to someone back in 2010 that has instruction for propagating the plant from seed.  The one thing I will add is the article references a "smoke" additive to improve germination.  The reason for this is the plant is a native of South Africa and the plant is use to annual "burns" where the countryside burns in natural fires like parts of the Western US and other dryish parts of the world.  The plant has adapted to the burning and has actually developed hormonal triggers that cause germination.  The triggers are activated by smoke from the firs.  The hormones for germination are activated by the smoke from he dying fires as  signal that it is safe for the seeds to germinate to grow new plants.  I hop this helps.  I want to point however that germination is possible without the "smoke" additive.


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Tom Alonzo


I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.


I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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