Hello, I purchased 10 seeds packages (5 lavender and 5 rudbeckia) from Burpee. Since I am a greenhorn, I didn't realize I would have to "start" these seeds indoors. If I direct seeded in the ground without starting do I jeopardize the success of the seeds? Basically, is it a must that I start the seeds indoors or can I just put them in the ground? Thank you.
Anoka County Minnesota
You can start any of these seeds outside - now. The reason they should have been started indoors is that they need a certain amount of time to mature into flowering plants. Our growing season is short, and these plants may not get big enough to flower properly before we get a killing frost in the fall.
On the one hand, both of these plants are perennials and can come back in the spring - giving you a jump-start on the season. On the other hand, lavender is marginally hardy here and will probably not survive the winter. You could mulch the plants - heavily with straw - after the ground has frozen. This can help them survive the freeze-thaw cycles we get in the winter and will increase their chances of survival.