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When I first started growing things from seed I did not know of one important detail. Some seeds require being sown on the surface and pressed into contact with the soil. I had a lot of failed attempts at growing several of my favorite types of seeds when I would cover them too deeply.
Another seed may need to be covered completely to germinate. I had lots of failures with tithonia and purple coneflower. One needs light, the other dark to germinate. Press the tithonia (mexican sunflower) seed into the soil surface to germinate. Cover the purple coneflower seed well.
Soaking smaller seeds is sometimes necessary to penetrate the hard cover of the seed. Some people think only large seeds which they can easily see need to be soaked. I even soak petunia seeds that are not pelleted.
Good points, Windy. Most surface sown seeds are very small, so I mix them with coarse sand to spread them evenly and to hold them in place when I mist them. Otherwise, I can roll them all over on one side of my starter tray.
I had no problems with Tithonia when I sowed them in the water-expended jiffies. The hole in the center allowed me to sow them about 1/4 inch down and they still had light exposure. The Tithonia gets really massive stems, and surface sowing doesn't cut it for me. The jiffies gave them room to grow before setting them out.
just remember to completely remove the netting thet encloses the jiffie and spread the roots a bit when you transplant.
When you surface sow you still have to press them into the medium. I just had zero germination when I used to cover the seed.
Impatiens balsamina is another one that is surface sown. Most of the plants in your garden that self-sow are the ones that require light to germinate. Not all, but most. Some end up covered by heavy rains and other means and then self-sow.
Perilla needs light also.
I sowed my Tithonia on the 28th of Feb and here is a pic of one that couldn't wait to get growing just a few days later. The others are a little smaller. You can see the discarded seed husk beside it. I didn't know they germinated sooooo fast!
It seems there is always one eager to germinate ahead of every other seed in the pot. I am still amazed with seeds and how they can produce such perfect plants from just a "dead" looking dried up old seed. Such a miracle.
You will love Tuthonia if you remember to plant them far enough apart. "Torch" grows 5' tall and 3' wide in my hellstrip bed. I can't imagine what it would do if you gave it water and decent soil... LOL
Yeah, I was kind of surprised to see how big they get when I read the package. I also got some sunflowers, and I was thinking about planting them together along the fence in the back of the yard. I know they are butterfly magnets, but do they have seeds for the birds, too?