Gentian (Enzian) Seed Germination
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Jo Fiedler
Posted on: November 19, 2004

Can you tell us how to grow the gentian (in German: Enzian) from seed?

We carry two gentians at present (2004).The directions for the difficult yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea) are in our catalogue. It has always low germination with the maximum being 40%. Wrap the seed in a clean paper towel, dampen the towel, and put it in a clean plastic bag that is loosely folded to close. Put the package in the fridge for 1 to 2 months and then sow the seed in a container of sterilized humus rich, alkaline soil (sterilize soil by pouring boiling water over it and then cooling it before sowing the seed). Keep the container at 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and good light, until the plants are well established. At higher temperatures they damp off very easily. According to some growers the seed can also be kept moist in the paper towel for one month at room temperature and then one month at minus 5 degrees Celsius to get germination. Others sow the seed in sterilized soil, keep the flat indoors for one month and then in January put it out of doors to be exposed to frosts. It will germinate in spring and quite naturally have the required lower growing temperature.

The Tibetan gentian (Gentiana tibetica) is much less fussy about soil or temperatures, than most gentians. Sow in sterilized garden soil and only keep cool (about 5 degrees Celsius) for a month if it has not germinated after a month.

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