How to Germinate and Grow Your Plants from Seeds

Let’s talk about gardening and how to germinate and grow your plants from seeds. In short, the hard carbohydrate in that seed must dissolve, turn to sugar and provide energy to the endosperm in the seed. This process takes from 3 to 25 days to take place. Through that period, all seeds must be kept moist to dissolve the carbohydrates. If they dry out, they die. Starting over again by watering a dry bed will not bring them back to life. Seeds are not Lazarus. Remember this when seeding your lawn or any other seeds you might plant.

OK, enough Biology for the day. Salvia is one of those plants that require light for proper germination. If you have a growth chamber for germination, set it so the lights are on 16 hours per day. As you know from this post, it has been requested for my daughter’s wedding.

We know from our research that Salvia requires 10 days to germinate. I plant them around April 1st and note on the seedling flat the date of expected germination. Keep this seed on the surface. Remember, it needs light to germinate!

How To Germinate and Grow From Seeds

  • I usually cover the flats with Glad Press and Seal, to keep moisture inside. Once sprouted, it is now time to remove the cover, and watch for the seedlings to grow. We have our growth chamber set up in the conservatory on the heated floor
  • Keep the flat moist, not wet, and water from below (like setting the flat in a pan of water) so the seedlings don’t get knocked over. They can’t get up again! Watch for the fungus called ‘damping off’. It happens to tiny seedlings that are too wet, and you will see the cotton like fungus at the base of the plant. Some people water their seedlings with chamomile tea (cold of course!). There are elements of the tea that prevent the damping off fungus. Just avoid damping off. Keep plants moist, never dry out, never too wet
  • Once there are at least 4 permanent leaves on the plant you can transplant to the 4 pack you will use for garden transplant. This time of year, the conservatory can get quite warm on a sunny day, so make sure to watch the temp in the in the growth chamber. Excessive heat will also set the plants back
  • Be sure to ‘harden’ the plants outside, during the day, for at least 3 days before transplanting outside. A fan, set on low speed over the plants, while still in the conservatory, can do the same thing if you have too many flats to take in and out
  • Make sure you are well past the last frost date before planting in the garden. Plants that are too cold will stunt and take a long time to re-start. There are many clever ideas for keeping the plant in the open during the day and covered at night

Often, a cold frame is the answer:

Other times, just a plastic hoop around the seedling is enough. I have learned to wait to plant my peppers until the soil is warm and the days are too. Yet, we all know that onions should get in the ground as early as possible.

Since starting this blog, many of my seeds have already arrived! I have planted the lisianthus and have a schedule of all the plants in the garden and when I will plant the seeds.

Stay tuned for seedlings as they grow and the designs we have made for the flowers this year!