How to Grow Edelweiss Flowers

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Edelweiss flowers are an alpine plant and are perennials that are native to the Alps of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and France. Edelweiss flowers are quite rare in the wild and, in many areas, are considered endangered in several countries. These famous flowers, subject of songs and legends, grow naturally in rocky crags in the Alps and are best cultivated in a rock garden that mimics their natural habitat. Grown in partial shade, these plants will develop beautiful woolly flowers which, with a ring of silvery white leaves surrounding them, look rather like large snowflakes. Edelweiss flowers are reasonably easy to propagate from seed and quite hardy if grown in conditions that suit them.

Growing Edelweiss

  • Preparing to grow Edelweiss flowers must begin with the proper soil and conditions. As these flowers grow naturally in limestone mountains, Edelweiss plants thrive in loose soil that is rich in lime. Soil that is too heavy or hard will choke the delicate, hair-like root system of the plant. Mixing up a planting medium that combines one part lime with two parts sand as a base, then adding some peat moss and cow manure makes an ideal foundation for Edelweiss flowers to thrive.

  • Sowing the seeds for your Edelweiss flowers outdoors should be done in the early spring, before the last frost, as a period of cold is necessary for the seeds to germinate. The tiny seeds should be sprinkled on the surface of the soil.

  • Begin the process earlier. Start Edelweiss flowers inside, approximately eight weeks before they will be transplanted into your garden, which would be done after the last frost of the spring. Germinating Edelweiss seeds indoors requires imbibing the seeds which is necessary to provide the cold temperatures the seeds will need to grow. This can be done by placing the seeds and some of your soil mixture in a black plastic bag and refrigerating it for three weeks. Your seeds then can be sown in pots by sprinkling them on top of the soil. Germination generally takes between two and six weeks.

  • Keep moist. Whether sowing indoors or out, seeds must be kept moist, but not soggy, to germinate. Watering these tiny seeds must be done very carefully to avoid washing them away. For seeds planted in the garden, a very fine mist of water can be used. Seeds started indoors can be kept moist by placing the pot in a tray of water and covering both tray and pot with a clear lid. There should be a few small holes in the lid to allow air circulation.

  • Blooming may not occur in the first season your Edelweiss plants are grown, but healthy plants should produce beautiful Edelweiss flowers by the second season. Simulating the natural conditions in which the Edelweiss grows as closely as possible will help ensure those beautiful blooms. For instance, if your area does not get snow in the winter season, mulching your plants in the fall can mimic the snow cover that would protect the Edelweiss in its natural environment. Just be sure to remove the mulch in early spring.

  • Propagating Edelweiss flowers by separation can be done every two to three years once the plants have become established in your garden. Since Edelweiss plants have a rather short lifespan, separating them in this manner is necessary to prevent these beautiful flowers from dying out after a few years.

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