Submitted by Howey on Sun, 03/27/2011 - 05:50

Hello again: Guess Todd might help me with this topic as Newfoundland is Kalmia, as well as dwarf Willow, country. This is a shrub I have always admired and, yes, wanted to grow in my garden despite the fact that my soil is less than ideal for it. Guess I could buy a shrub but don't really like to give up on seeds until I've tried to get what I want that way. Well, this spring there are 6 pots with seeds planted over the last few years in my very cold, sunny back porch with nary a speck of green in them. A Kalmia shrub, like a little hemming bird reproduction I recently acquired, is something I would very much enjoy having while I'm on this earth. So, Todd, and any others of you who know about Kalmias, is there some special secret to getting the seeds to germinate - perhaps the acid treatment? Muchos gracias. Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b


Submitted by Hoy on Sun, 03/27/2011 - 08:39

I have never tried to sow Kalmia but I have watched where other very small seed from the same plant family like to sprout: On old rotten roots in the shade! I have placed some moss and lichen covered dead roots as decoration in one of my shade beds and watched very tiny seedlings of Vaccinium spp sprout!

To sow Kalmia and other fine seed I would use a plastic box (I use empty ice cream boxes) with lid. For Kalmia I would also use natural woodland soil or peat, sow on top of the moist soil, put on the lid and leave in a light cool place for some weeks!

Submitted by Howey on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 15:44

Thanks for the tip for getting the Kalmia seeds started, Trond.  Will try that next year, I guess.  Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

Submitted by Hoy on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:42

I can add that a Kalmia sp has escaped gardens some places in Norway and self-seeded in mossy bogs, not Sphagnum but Polytrichum moss.

Submitted by Cockcroft on Tue, 11/06/2018 - 10:10

In reply to by Hoy

I asked this same question on the Scottish Rock Garden forum.  I have a dwarf, pink kalmia that sets viable seed.  I've been able to get the seed to germinate, but seedlings sit seemingly forever without growth and gradually fade away.  I've tried liquid fertilizer, different potting mixes.  No joy.

Does anyone have a suggestion?