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How to collect seeds & winter sow Red Campion (Silene dioica)

Red Campion (Silene dioica) is a delightful perennial wildflower that adds vibrant color to gardens with its striking pink-red blossoms. Known for its resilience and ease of care, Red Campion is a favorite among gardeners.

We’ll explore the steps to collect seeds from Red Campion and the process of winter sowing to ensure a stunning bloom in your garden next spring.

Red Campion thrives in a variety of soil conditions but prefers moist, well-drained soils. It is commonly found in meadows, woodland edges, and along roadsides. This hardy plant enjoys partial shade to full sun and can tolerate both slightly acidic and neutral soil pH levels.

  • Height: Typically grows between 30-90 cm (12-35 inches) tall.

  • Flowers: Bright pink to red flowers with a distinctive five-petal structure.

  • Bloom Time: Blooms from late spring to early autumn, providing a long season of interest.

  • Hardiness Zones: Suitable for USDA zones 4-8.

Step 1: Collecting Red Campion seeds

The optimal time to collect seeds from Red Campion is in late summer to early fall, usually around September to October. This is when the flowers have faded, and the seed pods have dried out.

You'll need...

  • Sharp scissors or pruners

  • Paper bags or envelopes

  • Labels and a pen

  1. Identify Seed Pods: Look for the dried seed pods on the plant. They are typically brown and brittle when ready for collection.

  2. Cut the Pods: Carefully cut the seed pods from the plant using your scissors or pruners. Handle them gently to avoid losing seeds.

  3. Collect the Seeds: Place the seed pods into a paper bag or envelope. Label them with the plant name and the collection date.

  4. Drying: Allow the pods to dry further in a cool, dry place for a few days to ensure the seeds are fully mature and dry.

  5. Extract the Seeds: Once the pods are dry, gently crush them to release the seeds. Separate the seeds from the chaff using a sieve or by gently blowing away the debris.

  6. Storage: Store the seeds in a cool, dark place in a labeled envelope until you are ready to sow them.

Step 2: Winter sowing Red Campion

Winter sowing is an effective method for germinating perennial seeds like Red Campion. It mimics the natural processes seeds undergo in the wild, leading to strong and healthy plants.

Here's a few different ways to winter sow + the way we do it here in our garden

Materials Needed

  • Clear plastic containers with lids (e.g., milk jugs, large yogurt containers)

  • Potting soil or seed starting mix

  • A drill or knife (for making drainage holes)

  • Duct tape

  • Labels and a pen

How to winter sow

  1. Prepare the Containers: Clean your plastic containers and cut them almost all the way around the middle, leaving a small hinge. This allows you to open and close the container easily. Drill or cut drainage holes in the bottom.

  2. Add Soil: Fill the bottom half of the container with about 3-4 inches of potting soil or seed starting mix. Moisten the soil until it is damp but not waterlogged.

  3. Sow the Seeds: Scatter the Red Campion seeds on the soil surface. Lightly press them into the soil but do not cover them, as they require light to germinate.

  4. Close the Containers: Close the containers and secure them with duct tape. Label each container with the plant name and the sowing date.

  5. Place Outside: Position the containers outside in an area where they will be exposed to winter weather but are protected from strong winds. The seeds will undergo natural stratification, experiencing the freezing and thawing cycles that promote germination.

  6. Monitor: Throughout the winter, check the containers occasionally to ensure they have adequate moisture. In early spring, watch for signs of germination.

By following these steps, you can successfully collect seeds and winter sow Red Campion, ensuring a vibrant and healthy display in your garden. This method is cost-effective and provides the satisfaction of growing plants from seed. Happy gardening!

We’d love to hear about your experiences or any tips you have for growing Red Campion. Share your thoughts in the comments in the video and connect with fellow gardeners from across the world!


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Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

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