Are petunia's easy to plant from seed? I am thinking of starting some indoors this year. I like the ones that trail the most...are some petunia's easier to grow than others? Anything you can offer would be great - thanks.
Very easy! I started mine on heat pads and under lights and even the ones that were supposed to be difficult germinated on mass! The only thing that seems to be important is watering with lukewarm (not cold) water.
Once the plants got to big (and too many -who know so many would germinate) I put them outside in a cheap mini greenhouse until the soil was warm enough to plant them.
Seeds are very tiny. They do not need peat pots - they transplant very well. You could even put them in little yogurt containers if you punch holes in the bottom - or old six-packs if you saved them from annuals you have bought in the past.
Here is what I did last year. I used a plastic container - like a small margarine or cool whip container - punched some holes in it. Then I put in some potting soil - and then I covered that with about 1/2 inch of seed starting mix.
Here is the directions from Stokes seeds - and I pretty much followed them - though I didn't worry about fungicide. I ended up with containers that looked like chia pets, I had so many germinate!
We use pure Jiffy Mix in our seedling flats, rather than soil mixtures - for better germination. Fill the flat to within 1/4 in/6 mm. from the top and firm (especially the corners), so you don't get erosion when watering. Soak the seed flat thoroughly before sowing, with luke warm water (70°F/21°C) and a good fungicide to prevent disease. Mark the rows 2 in/5 cm apart, and 1/8 in/3 mm deep, 1/2 in/13 mm wide - with the edge of a label or a marking board. If you are sowing several different colors in the same flat - it might be a good idea to place a piece of cardboard across the flat on both sides of the row that you are sowing - to prevent mixtures. Broadcast the seed as thinly as possible in each row. Press the seed firmly into the surface. We do not usually cover with soil - as some colors are light responsive. If you believe in covering the seed - use coarse vermiculite - it retains moisture and allows enough light for proper germination. To conserve moisture, cover seed flats with plastic, glass or paper. For ideal germination soil temp. must be 80° F/27° C (air temp. of 86°F/30° C days and 65° F/l 8°C nights). The soil temp. must not drop below 70° F/21°C. Use bottom heat if possible. Seed will germinate according to color (pinks, blues and whites first - reds last) in 5 - 1 0 days. Do not use cold water- it lowers the soil temp. and weakens tender seedlings. Uncover your seed bed at the first signs of germination, to prevent tall weak seedlings. Grow seedlings cool at 65°F/l8°C. Transplant 4 to 5 weeks after seeding, 1 - 1 1/2 in./3 - 4 cm. apart, and at the same depth as they were when in the seed flat. Grow at 55 - 60°F/l 3 - 1 6 °C. for stocky plants.
I start hundreds of petunias from seed each year. All above advice is great. If starting them under lights, have the lights on at least 15 hours per day. Heat mats help with germination, but take them out after the seedling has emerged. Warm water watering, but not directly out of the tap. Let cold water sit & warm up so the chlorine will disappear. Chamomile tea is a great preventative for dampoff. I use diluted fish emulsion fertilizer once a week after the 2 set of leaves appear.
1 seed per cell for pellets. If you broadcast seed in a tray, don't wait too long (4 -5 weeks) to transplant them into individual pots 2-1/2" are good for most. Most waves are pelletted (clay coating) so they are much easier to plant. Don't use the jiffy packs. The mesh liner is terrible and the roots do not develop properly thru the liner. Also the liner will eventually be exposed at soil level and then act as a wick, restricting water to the roots. Have you ever pulled out a bedding plant in the fall and notice that it had a stunted root system? And then noticed that darn mesh? It is best to use a seed starting mix. Don't cover the seed, needs light to germinate. Just press them in the soil.
Also, After they start growing put a fan on (blowing at them) for a few hours a day. It promotes good strong plants.
Oh my goodness joanna...petunias sure grow fast!!!! Yours look gorgeous!!!
Thank you so much Seandor and joanna for all your info...I like the fan idea...I never thought of that. Well I am going to order my seeds from Vesey's. There are some supertunia's I really like and also the double flowering petunia's that I will order.
I will print off this thread so I have all my info that I need.
If I have more questions I will post here again...thank you!!!