I intuitively feel this is wrong, but I'd like to start the seeds of a plant indoors now, in August, and keep the young plants in containers until the next spring. I'd want to transplant them outside some time around the month of April.

It's at 45° latitude. I'd like a native perennial.

Would that work?

  • Most annuals won't survive the low light level of winter, it also depends on the plants you are going to sow. I think a cactus will survive.
    – benn
    Aug 11, 2018 at 21:04
  • 1
    Depends which plants you're talking about and where you are in the world - even a greenhouse in far northern countries won't receive sufficient light in the dark days of winter for many plants grown from seed started now, but the question is too general to answer properly.
    – Bamboo
    Aug 11, 2018 at 21:56
  • I intentionally kept the question generic - I want to know why is this generally never done nor recommended. @Bamboo Few gardeners have green houses, so you can rule out that possibility. For no plant there is a recomendation "start seeds in August indoors, and replant next spring" -why? Aug 11, 2018 at 22:00
  • 1
    You can't generalise - 'winter' near the Equator is vastly different from winter in the far north, both in terms of temperatures and light levels, so location is important. Equally, some annuals or biennials can be sown now to flower next year outdoors rather than in pots, but again, its location dependent. A heated greenhouse with growlights might mean some plants can be started from seed now and grown on throughout winter - again, dependent on location,the plant and the facilities.
    – Bamboo
    Aug 11, 2018 at 22:03
  • 1
    @Bamboo You are talking about extremes. Instead, can't you assume "average" circumstances? Aug 11, 2018 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


The answer to this can be deduced from the comments already, really, but you say 45 degree latitude, which I take to mean 45th parallel north rather than south, and a perennial plant. That means the amount of daylight at the time of the shortest day is just over eight hours, with presumably low temperatures during the day and even lower at night. Any perennial plant you start from seed now, unless its big enough to plant outdoors by autumn and is hardy enough to withstand winter temperatures, will need to be kept indoors. And indoors, there's even less light, so etiolation will occur, and an average heated house is not a great environment during winter for a perennial plant either; the plant will not grow properly,or may not make it at all.

If, though, you have a cool but not freezing greenhouse (lightly heated to prevent freezing in other words), and if the plant is still a seedling, some growlights for the darkest two or three months, you're in with a chance of having a reasonably viable perennial to plant outdoors next spring.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.