Growing Tips: Maltese Cross, Lychnis

Quick Reference:

Perennial, a plant that usually does not flower until the second season and lives and flowers for multiple seasons thereafter. Germinates in 14 to 21 days at an optimum soil temperature of 70 degrees F. Pre-chill seed in refrigerator for 14 days to improve germination. Space seed ½ to ¾ inches apart, Do Not Cover. Space between plants in the garden, 12 to 16 inches. Plant height: 2 to 3 feet.

Where to plant:

Maltese cross prefers full sun, grows well in any good, well-drained soil, likes cool weather, is very hardy and winters-over very well in most all areas of Alaska.

Planting Instructions:

In Alaska, it is recommended that when perennial seed is planted directly in the garden, it not be planted until mid June to allow the soil to warm. It is preferred that the seed be started indoors in a containers because the environment is easier to control. Start seed in container that has drainage holes filled with sterilized potting soil, sprinkle seed on the soil surface, DO NOT COVER, seed requires light to germinate, water well for good seed-soil contact. Cover container with clear plastic to reduce evaporation and keep soil moist. Remove the plastic as soon as the seedlings start to sprout. When seedlings show their first green leaves, water with a liquid solution of plant food, repeat every two weeks and place pots in full sun. When the seedlings have 3 or 4 true leaves transplant to individual plastic pots and grow in full sun, with cool nights, 50 to 55 degrees F. After the last frost move pots outdoors and grow until the plants become well established, 2 to 2 ½ inches tall. By the first of August the young plants should be transplanted the to their permanent location. After transplanting immediately water well to reduce transplant shock.

Care:

Water as needed and apply a complete plant food each spring before the plants have started to grow and again in mid-summer.