Prairie smoke, or Geum triflorum, is also commonly known as three-flowered avens, old man's whiskers and long-plumed avens. It is a perennial flowering plant that can grow between 1 and 3 feet tall. Prairie smoke is native to North America and is hardy in the USDA zones 3 to 7. Prairie smoke has lobe-shaped, maroon to reddish-pink colored flowers that begin blooming in late spring and continue through early summer. Plant prairie smoke in full sun, and provide it with soil that is quick draining and rich in organic matter.
How to Plant Prarie Smoke Seeds
Moisten half to 1 cup of peat moss or sand. Place the sand, or peat moss into a resealable polythene bag, or a plastic container with a lid. Put the prairie smoke seeds into the polythene bag, or container, and seal it up.
Place the bag, or container, where the temperature will remain about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for four to six weeks. Check on the seeds every three to four days. Spritz the sand, or peat moss, with water just often enough to make sure it remains moist.
Remove the seeds from their storage after the allotted time has passed. Use seed-starting mix and fill up 3- or 4-inch-wide peat pots. Tamp down the soil in the peat pots until it’s well firmed down.
Scatter four or five prairie smoke seeds across the surface of the growing medium. Use your finger tip to push the seeds into the soil. Sprinkle about an eighth inch of the seed-starting mix over the seeds. Mist the surface of the soil in each peat pot until it’s been well dampened. Place the peat pots into an irrigation tray, or other similar type container.
Put the tray containing the peat pots in a warm, light filled location. Try and keep the temperature between 65 and 70 F. Provide six to eight hours of light daily (avoid putting the peat pots in direct sunlight). Germination for prairie smoke seeds varies, but typically begins between seven and 14 days. Once seeds emerge, maintain the moisture and light levels. Once seedlings reach about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in height, transplant them outside into their permanent location.
Transplanting Prairie Smoke
Cultivate the soil in the planting area to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches. Dig holes for planting your prairie smoke seedlings that are twice the width and depth of each of the peat pots. Space holes about 10 to 14 inches apart.
Cut the top section off on each of the peat pots down to the level of the soil. This is necessary to prevent moisture loss. Soak the peat pots in 2 to 3 inches of water for about 30 minutes. This helps to speed up the peat disintegrating.
Set a prairie smoke seedling into a previously dug hole. Check to make sure it’s not set too deep in the hole. The top of the soil in the peat pot should be sitting at the same level to the surrounding garden soil. Add or remove soil to the hole until you are sure the seedling is sitting at the correct height.
Slowly scoop in soil around the seedling, tamping it down firmly as you go. Pour water around the prairie smoke seedling until you are sure each it has been well watered.
Things You Will Need
- Prairie smoke seeds
- Seed-starting mix
- Polythene bag
- Peat pots
- Plant mister
- Irrigation tray
- According to the University of Wisconsin, prairie smoke prefers having moist growing conditions during spring, tolerates having drier growing conditions during the summer, and does not like being kept wet during winter months.