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I was thrilled to find stevia seeds at my local Target store a few weeks ago. I rushed home, filled a nice pot with regular potting soil, planted half my sparse treasure, watered, covered lightly & put it all on the seedling heat mat. A week later, I had a pot full of grungus with one tiny frail seedling trying to make its way upward. I remembered your suggestion about the ground cinnamon & sprinkled it around the invalid knowing in my heart that it was futile. Two days later he, too, was gone.
Now, I have reread your article & when I start over I will begin with sterilized soil!!!! I had a good bit of trouble with damping off last year but nothing like this. I used a reputable brand of potting soil, so I just didn't believe it could make that much difference. The heating mat is new & I suspect that may be what made the situation so nasty, so fast. Anyway, I truly appreciate your article. Thanks!!
You're welcome... but FYI, the problem may not have had much to do with your technique... Stevia can be really tricky to germinate. Even with fresh seed sent by a friend, I don't think I got better than 10% germination. The little seedlings sit there forever looking tiny and frail before they finally get enough of a root system to take off. Bottom heat will definitely help germinate Stevia... and you might even try pre-sprouting the seed between layers of damp paper towel in a baggie.
Thanks for that info. I won't dump the pot just yet but almost the entire surface of the soil has white "stuff" growing on it. Mold? Fungus? Who knows. I was sick. I don't believe I over watered. I just don't know what went wrong, but sterilization would surely have to help whatever it is. I invested in some chick grit today & I'm getting ready to microwave some soil in a little while. It may have been a good thing that it happened now with just one type of seed instead of later when I start the bulk of my seeds for the garden. Lesson learned! And I'm very glad I saved half of the seed as a backup.
About sprouting seeds in a baggie - can you tell me how you do that? I've had people tell me they do that, but the one time I tried it, the seeds just got slimy & smelly. I assume the bag has to stay open but is there anything else I need to know?
I don't think I've ever had seeds get slimy with the baggie method, hmm. You could probably add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the water (keep in mind the 1 tablespoon per quart ratio used for watering seedlings) that you use to moisten the paper towel -- couldn't hurt. The paper towel or coffee filter shouldn't be dripping wet; wring it out pretty well. Put the seeds between two layers of damp paper towel, then put the paper towel into a baggie. I do seal the baggie, but I puff a little air into it first (although I couldn't tell you the rationale behind that; it's just what I do).
You can hold the baggie up to the light to check for sprouting -- look for little "tails" forming on the seeds.