Large showy umbels of brilliant scarlet red flowers sit high above the foliage May through August.
Large showy umbels of brilliant scarlet red flowers sit high above the foliage from May through August. Rich green foliage is very fine, almost hair-like in appearance making an interesting contrast with the flowers. Maltese Cross is very popular for borders and cut-flowers. Grows quite well in dry, sandy soils. Hardy to Zone 3.
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How To Grow
1650 seeds/gram. Blooms the first year from early March sowing started indoors. Germinates at 20 C (70 F) in 28 days. Do not cover seed as they respond to light for improved germination. Pre-chill seed for 2-3 weeks at 5 C (40 F) prior to planting. Late fall sowing directly outdoors is also very effective as this allows the seed to be naturally stratified over the winter.
Blooming Season Begins
Start Indoors or Sow Direct in Fall
Days to Emergence
25 to 30
Medium Tall %2890 to 120 cm%29%2836 to 48%22%29
Degree of Difficulty
Back of the border.
Massing in sunny dry areas.
For many native and perennial plants, late fall is the best time to sow seed directly outside. Why you ask? Simply put, many of these plants produce seed that is viable but dormant. This means that while the seed has all the internal structures and nutrients required to germinate, the seed coat is so hard, water cannot pass through it and initiate germination. When seed is in this state, it is known as being dormant. Seed dormancy is a naturally selected for trait that protects the seed of many plants allowing them to safely overwinter and then be ready to sprout in more favourable conditions in spring.
The remedy to naturally breaking seed dormancy is typically the passing of time. In particular, seed overwintering outside and experiencing the natural freeze thaw cycles that occur in late fall, winter and early spring. To artificially break dormancy, sow seed in a soil-less mix, water then place in a refrigerator for a set period of time. This dormancy breaking process is called stratification.