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S. greggii 'Flame' Seeds

I had the opportunity of collecting some seeds from some Salvia greggii "Flame" today, and would like some direction on what to do next. My first impulse is to plant them as soon as possible. The seeds range in color from beige (which probably won't produce anything) through various shades of dark greenish brown, to dark brown. Should I discard all seeds but the darkest brown?

Is it better to sow the seeds outside now in zone 6 than wait for spring? I tried sowing seeds from the same plants inside last winter and they all promptly molded over, probably due to seed starting mix too wet. The ones I tried to 'spring sow' in Feb outside in milk jugs half full of damp potting soil did not produce any seedlings either, perhaps for the same reason.

If I plant them outside now, should I cover them with some kind of cloche to limit the amount of rain they get?

What sort of soil or seed starting medium should I use (I was thinking of that gritty potting soil they sell for cactus)?

I don't think there are any other s. greggii nearby. Does that mean any seedlings will probably also be red?

If you have any information or advice that would be helpful, I would love to hear it.

BTW: A nice bonus to collecting the seeds was that a hummingbird buzzed me twice - he was probably used to having his flower patch all to himself and was surprised to find another creature there today.

Lois in PA

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