I have been trying to grow various plants from seed and I find I am not that good at it! I get a lot of germination but don't quite know how to get them beyond their infancy stage. I have these newly germinated Penstemon ambiguus seedlings. What do I need to do to them to get a few to survive. How much water? When do I transplant them. How long can they stay in this fine seed mix that dries out fast. Any help regarding raising seedlings is appreciated.
If the container they are in is tall enough, I usually set the containers in a shallow saucer of some sort and keep about 1/4" of water in it at all times. The more roots they get the faster they use the water. After they have their second set of leaves, I usually but not always pick them out with a spoon or similar and place them in potting soil, trying very hard not to disturb the root. After they have adjusted to this I begin feeding with 1/2 strength Miracle Gro (blue water) about every 2 weeks. I continue using the 1/4" water at the bottom until they can be potted up to large enough pots to retain some water for more than one day. During all this time, I have them under grow lights or flourescent lights or outside if weather is warm enough but in the shade.
Leave them in the seed mix longer then, but just water from the bottom. Ive been told not to handle the stem at all. If you need to touch the plant, hold by the leaf. The plant can make another leaf, but it can't recover from a broken stem. The seed has some nutrients stored so it can probably do OK for a month without anything but water. Wait until it is strong to move it. I suppose you could cut one seedling and leave in the starter mix until roots come out the bottom, always feeding 1/2 strength from the bottom. It would be a little like hydroponics. I sometimes lose a seedling when I move them but not often. I dont use seed starter mix anymore but a potting soil that I screen out the big pieces.
I winter-sowed agastache, Golden Jubilee in milk carton. After two sets of leaves, I transferred to a nursery 6pk. and put them under lights. They are 6 inches tall now and many sets of leaves, almost bushy. I dont have a photo. Try to get one tomorrow. These were the tiniest little things. Never knew they would grow into such large plants.
I did winter sowing in 2010 and had ok success and I do believe I used reg. potting soil. I bought this thinking it would be better but I am not sure it is. Here is another plant. I found some very old (3 years) adenium seeds and planted 4 of the ones that were not pulverized. This little guy is the only one that germinated. Do you think he needs different soil now?
You know I realize now that using this soil and not regular potting soil is why I am having some issues. I am not very patient and until recently never tried to grow plants from seed so I am pretty inexperienced. I winter sowed some red dome blanket flower and they did great last time. I just left them in the milk jug until spring when I planted them out. I put some out this year, a little later and they are not looking that great. I will be moving what I have left when I get some time to do it.
Cheryl, I did not have good result with soil-less mixes. They are supposed to prevent damping off and diseases but Ive never had any problem with those, using the potting soil. Hope your little one survives.