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Indoor seed starting - your successes and failures

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

What have you sowed successfully indoors this winter, and what isn't germinating for you? Maybe the successful can help out the unsuccessful with advice.

My successful germinations:
daylily (in fridge for a while, then soaked overnight)
candy lily (2nd attempt - soaked and 2+ wks in damp soil in fridge)
belamcanda chinesis (2nd attempt - same as above)
lewisia (only 6 of 31)
digitalis - 3 types (sown on surface)
basil - 3 types (oops - maybe should have waited longer- they popped right up)
asclepias tuberosa (in fridge for a while, then soaked overnight)
(All above on heat mat under lights til germination)

Unsuccessful:
candy lily (1st attempt) - just put in the fridge after 1+ month no germination - still hoping
belamcanda chinesis (1st attempt - same as above)
gerbera daisy - sown near surface on heat mat under lights Jan 23rd. Should I give up?
lewisia (balance of) - I put out to wintersow - still hoping

Others still too early to tell.

Your turn.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Oops. Left out:

Slightly successful:
tricyrtis maculata - a few teeny sprouts, but over a week later they don't seem to have grown at all.

Unsuccessful:
tricyrtis latifolia - (sown Jan 11). just put in the fridge and will leave there for a few weeks - still hoping.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Sowed Jan 24 - Rosemary 15 with 2nd set of leaves

Feb 1 -
Alternanthera Purple Knight ...all up
Dichondra Emerald Falls ...all up
Dichondra Silver Falls,... just starting to germinate
Licorice ...all up
Impatiens Tango ...1/2 up
Impatiens Tempo ...1/4 up
Cup & Saucer ...1/4

Feb 8 -
Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy ...all up
Lobelia Sapphire - ....up
Anagallis monellii ....up
Stocks 10 Weeks .... up
Salpiglossis Royale Chocolate ....up
Pansy Purple Rain ...1/4 up
Gazania Kiss Mix... up
Pansy Black Beauty ....1/4 up
Torenia Suzie Wong ....none
Torenia Duchess Mix ...all
Coleus Dragon & Volcano .....3/4
Pentas Red Lace.... all
Petunia Opera Supreme Lilac Ice ....all
Petunia Baby Duck ....all
Petunia Superbissima .....most
Malva Zebrina .....up
Aster Pavlova dark Blue ....up
Rudbeckia Goldilocks ....most up

Feb 10 -
Bacopa Snowtopia ....couple
Petunia Opera Supeme Pink Morn.... none
Bacopa Bluetopia ....none
Petunia Ramblin' Razzleberry mix.... all
Diascia Coral Rose.... couple
Petunia Blue Wave ....most
Petunia Easy Wave Mix.... few
Petunia Shock Wave ....1/2
Petunia Explorer Coral ......none
Petunia Dble Glorious .....none
Petunia avalnce Grape..... 1/2
Verbena Tuscany few....
Verbena Imagination .....1/3








Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

perenniallyme,

The stuff you put in the fridge, are they still in there? If so, take them out, sow them and put them under lights or near a sunny window. I don't think they will germinate in the fridge.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Hi Joanna. That's quite a list of successes! You're certainly doing something right.
The stuff I put in the fridge - I did it because I had successful germinations of 2nd batches after I had those seeds in damp mix in the fridge for a few weeks, where the 1st batches that hadn't been done that way weren't germinating ( both belamcanda and pardancanda). So I thought I'd try putting them in the fridge for a few weeks, then take them out and see if they germinate. They've only been in the fridge 5 days so far.

New stuff sprouting:
asclepias tuberosa (most)
gaillardia pulchella (half plus)
delphinium grandiflorum (just a few)
dill
another digitalis (ferruginea)

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Perernnially~ your lewisia should enjoy excellent results with wintersowing. I did 2 years ago with gorgeous blue blooms later in the season.

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

Successes so far 2009: Spirea, barberry, trumpet lily, easter lily, rugosa rose, petunia, Nierembergia, cinaria.

Failures: astillbe - these germinated then died probably because I overwatered, begonias - nothing germinated - again probably too wet, nemesia - germinated then died.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

garden6, I thought that lewisias took til at least the 2nd year to bloom, and I've never seen blue ones. Are you sure you're talking about lewisias? If so, I'd sure love to know what the cultivar is!

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Perennially~ OMG!! I just reread your entry. ...linum lewisii is the one. I 've now had my coffee...Please don't throw any weeds at me!!! LOL!

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

No weeds available to throw today, garden6. I wouldn't dare to communicate with anyone before at least 1 or 2 cups of coffee myself. Oh well, maybe someday there'll be a blue lewisia that blooms the first year - who knows?
Seandor, are you trying again with the astilbe and others? I don't have any experience with them. Did you take covers off as soon as they germinated and use a bit of hydrogen peroxide in the water?

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

I sowed 4 different types of maters (2 diff cherry, Roma and "Endless Summer"), burpless cukes, 5 diff types of hardy hibiscus (25 'plants' total) in peat pellets, soaked in hot water with hydrogen peroxide added, covered the little greenhouses (each holds 25 pellets) and put the trays in my oven with the appliance light on. This was done on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning I had 90% germination in the two trays!!! Yes, I have used the oven to bake--- BUT, always check before turning the oven heat on and wait until oven has completely cooled before I put the trays back in. Looking forward to homegrown maters :)

Jan

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Wow, that's quite a success! How long did you soak the seeds, and did you keep the water hot for a period?

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

Only "problem" is germinating Gold Star Esperanza/Tecoma Stans Gold Star...These are also in the oven but have not germinated as of yet---perhaps I'm being a bit impatient??? Does anyone have experience with this and have any suggestions for me??? I LOVE this plant and, yes, I know it's not hardy in our winters but I really, really want this plant... :(

Jan

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

I didn't soak the seeds at all---just the peat pellets. Pretty easy, hey?!

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

I actually grow a lot of things that are not hardy (i.e. tropicals :) so my basement is full of brugs of varying sizes, EE's, etc. I even grew some brugs from seed last year!!! I DID soak the brug seeds for 24 hrs in very hot water with HP added and it took 2-3 weeks for them to germinate (with the aid of the "oven greenhouse"---LOL)!!! Now if I can only get the Esperanza to cooperate.........

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Oooooooooh noooooooo. I have fungus! I guess I'll have to say goodbye to what I sowed and many have already sprouted but I doubt they'll make it. Lost to the fungus:

Zinnia 'Envy'
Orange Zinnia
Red, Red and Yellow, and Yellow Four O'Clocks
Shasta daisy
Purple coneflower
Nasturtium

Sometimes you just want to cry. I sterilized everthing, the water the container, the seeds; it must have come from the peat pots that I did not sterilize. I guess I shouldn't have presumed they wouldn't introduce fungus. Anyone know how to rescue seedlings from fungus?
Stacey

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Aardvark, what kind of fungus? I had some mold when I tried using wooden labels, but I threw away the labels and watered with peroxide water for a while, and it went away.

JanLynn, I haven't tried peat pellets. Do you like them better than just using the seed-starting mix?

Kailua Kona, HI(Zone 11)

aardvark: don't over water just damp,if still geting fungus spray pots and dirt with neem oil, may take two times. a day or two apart should do it .i use it all the time on the island,fungus will start a soon as i water.

should add i use starting soil by ferry morse(lowes) peat pots,and the in sides of jiffy pot to cover seeds to proper depth.

This message was edited Feb 19, 2009 4:06 PM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

OK I have no idea what kind of fungus it is, long white hairy hyphae, some little pots worse than others. There is also some green mold in some places. Many of the green Envy and orange zinnia had sprouted so I took them out of the flat and set them in indirect light on the kitchen table. It has been overnight and they don't look like they are kicking the bucket yet. Maybe they will make it, I hope. Going to at least try to save them and the others. Which should I use, the H2O2 water or the neem? Gotta go to the store now, somebody please input quick. Thanks! Stacey

North Richland Hills, TX(Zone 8a)

I'd recently heard that keeping a fan running in the location that you have your seeds helps with fungus growth and damping off. Since I started the fan, I haven't lost any to either problem. It's one of those standing fans that occilates back & forth. I keep it on 24/7.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Thanks Jenepat. Have the ceiling fan going and am on my way to the store. I can always use neem and hydrogen peroxide so I'll just pick up both.

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

For fungus gnats and/or mold you can also use cinnamon. Cinnamon is cheap and organic besides smelling nice :) When I notice a couple of fungus gnats I sprinkle some cinnamon on the top of my potted plants' dirt. Everytime I water my plants I add/use H202. I do like using the peat pellets when starting seeds. By the time the baby plant is ready to be transplanted I cradle the pellet w/the plant in one hand and will remove the netting with my other hand. Some seedlings have strong roots and the roots will grow thru the netting (i.e. castor beans grow a very strong root system) but I have noticed that some of my seedlings root systems are unable to grow thru the netting (unfortunately). I've also heard of some ppl using 'rockwool' for seed starting but not sure what that is. Another item I use frequently is "Wet Floral Foam". I used that for almost all of my brug cuttings when I first started rooting them. The WFF must not be allowed to dry out completely and I have cut it in little pieces for seed starting also. You DO NOT have to remove the seeding/cutting from the WFF when planting/transplanting as the roots grow right thru the foam. I'm gonna finish posting this now and then look for some pictures that I posted several years ago using the WFF.

BBL...Jan


The "Propagation" Forum has lots of info that you may also find useful. The thread where I discuss my use of the Wet Floral Foam is:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/642059/

My posting is halfway down. HTH!!! Jan

This message was edited Feb 20, 2009 3:42 PM

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

perenniallyme . . . alas, I did not take the cover off after the astillbe germinated . . . and I don't have any more seeds to start . . .

Next time I will follow your suggestions.

thanks to everyone regarding fungus . . . I have also had the problem. I will begin spraying/watering with Hydrogen peroxide in the water.

(Jan) So Milw, WI(Zone 5b)

Stacey/aardvark:

I have some extra seeds that you may like...dmail me!

The 4:00's are known to be such an easy seed/plant to grow but I never had much luck growing them from seed :) A couple of years ago I just threw some seeds on the dirt and they grew---best way to grow them, IMO, is by direct sowing. They are listed as an annual in my zone but the 4:00's grow a very deep taproot and they come back every year for me now :) I have some of the "Kaleidascope" 4:00 seeds that I harvested from my plants last year...lmk if you'd like some :)

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Seandor, did you see today's article on degree of difficulty starting from seed? Astilbe was listed as (3) - not worth the effort.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I tried 4 o'clocks a couple of years ago. I think they were time-zoned challenged since the blooms opened in the morning instead of the afternoon. They didn't get very big but that's probably because of our cool temps in May & June. Our night temps are very cool as well even with hot days

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Maybe overkill but sprayed with neem and then sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Gosh it must have been way too much water. Sometimes I wonder if those domes are really necessary. They seem to cut off the air circulation and make the environment way too humid. And then the shock they must get in this dry Texas air when the dome does come off. But next time I water it will be with the hydrogen peroxide solution. Thanks to you guys for your help with my fungus problem! :) And thank you, Jan, for your offer of 4O'clock seed. I'm going to "wait and see" what happens to mine (I see 3 of the red ones poking up now - so they're not dead yet). If the fungus gets them I'll send you dmail Jan.

Hey, I did have some earlier successes: "lavendar lady" lavendar, philipene lily, moss rose, tecoma stans, basil, rosemary, lemon balm, Lindheimer muhly grass, asclepias curasavicca and syriaca and tuberosa. Interestingly, all of these were grown in plastic containers with plastic wrap on top (holes for ventilation), and NO bamboo skewers for tags.

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

perenniallyme - yes, I saw the article last evening and immediately tagged it. Now I don't feel so bad . . . still I had about 40 germinate and now they are all kaput.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Sounds like you did really well on the hardest part. I hope you'll try them again sometime.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

I have a few questions.
How much Hydrogen peroxide must be mixed in the water?
Can someone explain me what 'neem' is. Babelfish doesn't recognize the word.
About the cinnamon: is it a problem if some of the cinnamon comes on the seedlings?

I have fungus too, and want to try all three, to see what works the best for me.
Thanks.
Jonna

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Hi Jonna,
Here's from Wikipedia:

Neem oil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Neem Expeller OilNeem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of Neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It is perhaps the most important of the commercially available products of neem for organic farming and medicines.

They have a lot more info on it, and you should be able to find info all over the internet.

Most people say to use 1 part H2O2 to 9 or 10 parts water. I started out that way, but have been using less, though am starting to have some algae(?) growth on my seed starting mix. Haven't had any damping off though. This is my first time using it, so I'm no expert.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Thanks Sharon, I found it. It's not common in Belgium. I found a shop, but it's rather expensive, $ 20 for just 100 ml.
I think I'll try the other 2 first. And when I once can buy the neem oil cheaper, I will try that too. I read it's also good against louses, etc.


Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Jonna, I believe you dilute it quite a bit, so if it's 100% neem, it goes a long way.

Ames, NE(Zone 5b)

I seen a light stand for trays of seedlings made of pvc (home made).. Now I can't find it Any help please

Tubby

Kailua Kona, HI(Zone 11)

Jonna find neem oil for plant use, mix 2 tablespoons per gallon of warm water, the sooner you use it after you mix it the better. you may need to mix in a half teasoon of dish soap to help it mix.it will cloud up at cool temp.the pure stuff is good for skin disorders and weird rashes.it may be expensive but it works.will remove 400 kinds of bugs.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

HawaiiAL, Thanks for your advice. I will try to buy the neem oil.

Germanton, NC(Zone 7a)

JanLynn - Never heard of using the oven, please tell us more.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Update on the fungus infested pots: ALL of the zinnia and four o'clocks and shasta daisies made it. Yeah! But only 4 out of 10 of 'Empress of India' and 0 out of 10 of 'Cherry Rose' nasturtiums made it. Not a single coneflower (echinacea purpureum) out of 20 pots survived. Still have seed for the coneflowers though so I'll try those again tomorrow, but WITHOUT wooden tags and the dome. Think I'll germinate them in some recycled styro egg carton bottoms.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Sorry to hear aardvark, but glad some of them made it.
I'm having a possible problem with some of my digitalis. Still only working on their 2nd set of baby leaves, but the leaves on some are getting yellowish - faded and sickly looking. Any ideas on what's wrong? I'm still using peroxide in the water. Should I stop using it? (Other foxglove flats look fine so far).

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Is it the bottom-most leaves closest to the soil that are yellowing and looking sickly?

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