I started this trial to test out some advice I’d read on a seed sowing method that makes it easy to manage watering. You can read more about it here, but as a reminder, I had three varieties in this trial.

Firstly, digitalis parviflora:  the group sown in vermiculite germinated quickly and in good numbers compared to those sown on compost.

clear winner

Something then ate nearly all those seedlings, a slug I reckon, I only salvaged a handful to prick out from the vermiculite group.  I kept the pot though, and every now and again I still get a seedling which gets added to the tally.  The compost group didn’t do anything much for ages but has produced a slow and steady flow of 1 or 2 seedlings a week.  On the plus side they avoided the attentions of the dreaded mollusc.  At time of writing I have a total of about 20 seedlings pricked out from both groups combined.  I’d guess that the tally from each group is about even, so on that basis I could call it a draw, but I think that the vermiculite group deserves to be called the winner on the basis that many more seedlings germinated, and much more quickly, before the slugs struck.

The second variety is lychnis arkwrightii.   The lychnis germinated faster in the vermiculite, but not by much, and I reckon they were about even in numbers.  In hindsight, for a slightly more scientific result, it would have better if I had counted the seeds sown and germination numbers.  I’ll declare the trial a draw for this variety.  The resulting plants are doing fine, and in fact I’ve cycled them into Trial 04 which you can read about here

A ok

Lastly, aconitum.  I was going to write these off in terms of the trial as there has been no sign of any action in either group despite some fridge time. However, when I did a final check this morning I saw a solitary seedling in the vermiculite pot. 

I expect that more will now appear, so all is not lost.  On the basis that the first one to appear was from the vermiculite pot, I’m going to declare that a narrow victory.

Overall, I think that the vermiculite method has edged it, but not exactly a conclusive result.  To be fair, the author whose recommended method this is, did not say it was better than sowing on plain compost, a long-standing technique for a reason, just that it is easier to manage, and foolproof as far as watering is concerned which overall leads to better chances of successful outcomes.
I’m going to stick with the vermiculite method, in all cases these seeds germinated first, and it seems to have worked well for me in general.

This is the final update for Trial 01.

I’ll be back soon with more propagation news.