Dealing with teeny, tiny seeds

Washington, DC

Some of my seeds are as tiny as dust mites. Its very difficult - no impossible - to portion them out or scatter them over an area. Is there anything I can mix with them so they are visible enough to see that they are evenly dispersed thoughout the media. If I use peat the seeds won't be visible. I was thinking of fine granulated sugar. Would this be OK for the soil, do you think?

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

I don't think sugar will be good.
I advise you to mix the seeds with find sand, that way it's easier to spread them.
Another way to spread them over the container is to let them drop far above the container (that's the way I do it always).
It's impossible to see the seeds if they're so small, but that's no problem if you sow them like I stated above, they'll be spread all over the area.
Probabely you already know, but if not: all very tiny seeds need light to germinate, so don't cover them.


Galesburg, IL

I second Jonna's suggestion on using sand. You can get fine silica sand from hardware stores (used for sand blasting) for a reasonable price. There are many different sizes of blasting sand, so check with the people at stores to get the size you want. Another way is too put the seeds onto a piece of white paper folded in half and sprinkle from the fold of the paper. You won't be able to see them on the soil, but you will be able to see them fall from the paper.

Washington, DC

trc65, thanks but I tried the white paper trick and it didn't work. Either the seeds wouldn't come out or they came out in clumps and landed in one spot. I really don't want to drag home a huge bag of silica sand so I can plant a few seeds. Guess I'll just have to forego plants that come from tiny seeds.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Don't know how it is in the USA, but here in Europe the very fine sand is used in small birdcages, so you can buy small bags in an animal shop.
Or you can try my second suggestion. If you scatter the seeds high above the container, shaking you fingers a bit, they'll be spread. To see if it works, you can put a white paper around the container to catch the seeds that didn't reach the container and scatter them again.
Or you can devide the small seeds in 4 parts and scatter the seeds (who are inbetween your thumb and a finger) in 4 different parts of the container.
Don't give up. It's just a bit practising. I sow a lot of tiny seeds every year and have no problems with spreading the seeds anymore.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Maybe scoop up a tiny amount of seed with the end of a soda straw.

Drop them onto a clean, dry white saucer.
Shake it back and forth gently to spread them out on the saucer.

Then pick up a managable number at a time between thumb and forefinger.

Pinch, move fingers over pot, hold breath, and rub invisible fairy dust onto the soil.

(I talk as if this works for me, but I just had some lobelia sprout in cells. I accidently sowed them so thickly, that they look like moss!)


Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

I have sowed Delosperma cooperi (Iceplant) seeds which are like dust. I used a clear plastic container filled about 1/4th " deep with moist fine cut peat moss. I then mixed the seeds into the peatmoss. The seeds sprouted in a week. I then transfered the mass of seeds/peatmoss and spread the mix on top of a seed tray filled with potting soil.

Below are the seedlings of D. cooperi. They are about 2 to 3 weeks old

Thumbnail by blomma
Troy, NY(Zone 5b)

I use a toothpick. I just dip it in water and then the seeds cling. I can get the tiniest seeds sewn 2-3 per pot.

Ossian, IN(Zone 5a)

It worked for me to use a skewer dipped in water. It is very easy and I've had good results. Don't give up! Some of the prettiest things come from hard work!
Happy Gardening!

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