Planting annual flowers for seedlings

Planting annual flowers for seedlings

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It is not for nothing that annuals in the garden are so loved by many generations of flower growers, because in terms of the duration of flowering, none of the perennial flowers can match them. Starting from the end of spring, they are able to delight the heart of the gardener until the very autumn frosts. And some, even after slight frosts, are able to maintain a decorative appearance.

But in order to enjoy their flowering as early as possible, you need to think about growing seedlings. Indeed, in the climatic conditions of the middle lane, the choice of annual flowers for direct sowing into the ground is very limited. And, most importantly, flowering from them can be expected only by the middle of summer.

While many annuals are not difficult to grow using seedlings. And this can become not only an exciting activity, but also significantly save your budget, or even become a source of additional income in today's difficult times. After all, prices for seedlings of annual flowers are not cheap. And not everyone has the time and place in the house to grow a significant amount of seedlings. It is only important to start by gaining invaluable experience, and over time, many things that seemed difficult to you will be taken for granted.

Why do you need seedlings

Of course, the main reason why annuals are grown through seedlings is that you can get a plant with buds just at the moment when the time is favorable for planting annual flowers in flower beds. That is, you can provide yourself with early flowering of most annuals. Moreover, among them there are those that, when sown in open ground, will not even be able to develop enough leaves by the end of summer, and not only bloom.

Important! Many flowering annuals are characterized by such small and delicate seeds that when sown in open ground, they are likely to die, unable to withstand competition with weeds and more resistant flowers.

There is another reason for sowing many annual flowers indoors. The fact is that it is the first two to three weeks of plant life after seed germination that are decisive. During this period, the laying of all the most important processes of the growing season takes place. That is, it depends on the conditions in which the seedlings are placed during this period, what size the flowers and the plants themselves will be, how bright the shades will be and how long the flowering will be. When growing annual flowers with seedlings, the illumination, temperature, humidity and other parameters can be easily controlled, which cannot be said about the conditions when grown outdoors.

So, growing seedlings is necessary or very desirable for annuals in the following cases:

  • If the flowers are characterized by a long growing season, when 80 to 150 days pass from sowing to flowering.
  • Annuals have a very long flowering period, which can last from May to October.
  • If the flowers are very thermophilic, they cannot stand temperatures below + 5 ° C and need bright lighting for full development.
  • If there is a desire to bring the moment of flowering closer to annuals for a month or two.

Sowing dates

It is possible to sow the seeds of some annual flowers for seedlings as early as January. This may be necessary for long-swinging annuals such as Shabo carnation, eustoma, tuberous and ever-flowering begonia, pelargonium, fuchsia and heliotrope.

In February, the planting season can be considered already in full swing. Indeed, it is in this month that such popular and beautiful annuals as petunia, snapdragon, viola, verbena, salvia, and lobelia are planted on seedlings.

Attention! And in January and February, additional illumination of the seedlings is required, otherwise it is impossible to grow it due to the too short daylight hours and the minimum number of sunny days.

March is the most suitable month for sowing seedlings of most annuals. For example, we can mention such flowers as: alyssum, winged tobacco, Drummond phlox, cleoma, carnation, mattiola, gelichrizum and others. You can also sow in March for seedlings and seeds from the first group, but then their flowering may be somewhat delayed. In the first half of March, it is also advisable to highlight the growing seedlings, and from the end of March, many plants will have enough light on the southern windowsills.

In April, many annual flowers can be sown on seedlings, this is usually done in order to speed up their flowering time. Usually sown marigolds, asters, cochia, ageratum, annual dahlias, cellosia, zinnia and others. In April, you can also sow many fast-growing annuals on seedlings, so that they bloom at the end of May.

Seeds and features of sowing annuals

Fresh seeds of almost all annual flowers usually sprout easily, quickly and amicably.

Seed germination

On average, the minimum germination rate of fresh seeds ranges from 75% (for nasturtium, Drummond phlox, blue cornflower) to 90% (for aster, ageratum, Shabo carnation, calendula, decorative cabbage, viola). Over time, germination, of course, decreases, and its percentage already depends on the characteristics of the type of flower.

  • Phlox Drummond and aster seeds remain viable for no more than a year.
  • From 1 to 2 years old, the seeds of gatsania, verbena, godetia, helihrizum, foxglove and cochia can germinate well.
  • From 2 to 3 years old seeds of ageratum, viola, gailardia, delphinium, annual dahlia, bellflower, calendula, iberis, daisy, mallow, petunia, sunflower, tobacco, scabiosa and lobelia do not lose their germination.
  • Up to 5 years old, seeds of alyssum, cosme, sweet pea, snapdragon, lavater, nasturtium, marigold and salvia germinate well.
  • For more than five years, seeds of cornflower, cellozia and levkoy do not lose their germination.

Attention! The general rule is that flowers from large seeds sprout better and develop faster. Small seeds usually lose their germination earlier and develop more slowly.

By the size of seeds, the following groups of annuals can be distinguished:

  • Small (1 g contains from 5 to 25 thousand seeds) - lobelia, begonia, ageratum, petunia, purslane, daisy, snapdragon.
  • Medium (1 g contains from 500 to 600 seeds) - aster, verbena, iberis, salvia, levkoy, tagetes, cellozia.
  • Large (1 g contains from 100 to 300 seeds) - calendula, zinnia, mallow, lavatera, kosmeya, cornflower.
  • Very large (1 g fits from one to 30 seeds) - nasturtium, sweet peas, sunflower.

Seed germination conditions

Absolutely all seeds of annuals need to create a certain combination of temperature, humidity, oxygen and light for successful germination. With humidity, the situation is the easiest - all seeds need to create a humid environment for swelling.

But with the temperature, the situation is already somewhat more complicated. Many thermophilic annuals require temperatures above + 22 ° С for successful germination, some even up to + 28 ° + 30 ° С. Others are quite successfully able to germinate even at + 10 ° C, but if the temperature is about + 20 ° C, the germination time will noticeably decrease. Therefore, the general recommendation for sowing annual seeds for seedlings is to place them in an environment with room temperature.

As for the light, everything is not at all easy here.

There are flowers whose seeds germinate: only in the light, only in the dark and in any conditions.

Most often, light for germination is needed for those annuals that have small seeds and, accordingly, a small supply of nutrients. For example, petunias, snapdragons, begonias, mimulus, alissum, lobelia, purslane. The seeds of these flowers must be sown exclusively on the surface of the soil and placed under a lamp or in another bright place for germination.

Important! Direct sunlight, however, should not hit the sprouting flowers, as they can destroy delicate sprouts.

Other annuals germinate well only in the dark and must be covered with earth. These flowers include: Drummond phlox, marigolds, verbena, castor oil plants and some other annuals with large seeds. It is possible to deepen the seeds into the ground to a depth not exceeding three sizes of the seed itself.

Interestingly, there are flowers that can germinate in any conditions, both in the light and in the dark. Fortunately, such annuals are the majority.

It should be noted that in addition to general conditions, some annual flowers have special requirements for germination. Many large seeds require mandatory soaking for a day (nasturtium) and even scarification, that is, mechanical damage to the seed shell (sweet pea).

Advice! To improve the germination of verbena and perilla, periodically soak and dry them for 2-3 days and only then sow.

For better germination, seeds of all annuals (except for the smallest ones) should be treated (soaked for several hours) in growth stimulants (Epin, Zircon, Energen, HB-101) for better germination.

Sowing features

The method of sowing annual flowers for seedlings depends primarily on the size of the seeds. All small seeds of the same type are traditionally sown in two main ways:

  • Mixing them in advance with sand;
  • In the snow.

Usually a small flat container is taken, filled with light breathable soil. Moreover, the uppermost layer, 0.5 cm thick, is poured from a fine substrate sifted through a sieve. When using the first method, annual seeds are mixed with calcined river sand and evenly distributed over the surface. From above, they are lightly sprayed with water from a spray bottle.

In the second method, a small layer of snow is laid on the surface of the substrate and seeds are placed directly on top of it. Since even the smallest seeds are clearly visible in the snow, they can be placed more or less evenly. The snow melts, slightly pulls seeds into the ground and provides them with good adhesion to the ground.

After sowing, the container can be covered with polyethylene, glass or any other transparent lid and placed in a warm place for germination.

Medium to large seeds are often sown in grooves or individual nests that can be marked with a match on the ground.

The largest seeds are often sown in separate cups. They can be placed in a pallet and covered with a transparent bag on top to create a greenhouse effect.

Advice! If you are not sure about the sterility of the soil, a day before sowing it can be spilled with a bright pink solution of potassium permanganate.

Growing seedlings of annuals

Seedlings usually appear a week or two after sowing. But it is better after three days to regularly inspect the plantings and, if possible, open the lid to air the seedlings. When the first sprouts appear, containers with seedlings are moved to the brightest place. It is better to lower the temperature immediately after germination by a few degrees, if possible, even for the most heat-loving flower seeds, such as balsam, petunia or verbena.

When growing seedlings of annuals, picking is usually necessary. This is the name of the transplantation of sprouts at such a distance from each other that can provide them with the necessary feeding area. Seedlings are often dived into separate containers.

Some annuals, such as begonia, lobelia, Shabo carnations, planted at the earliest dates, in January and February, even dive twice. One - 7-10 days after germination, the second - about a month later.

Annuals planted on seedlings in March and April, one pick is enough. Usually it is carried out at the moment of the appearance of the first pair of true leaves in the seedlings (not to be confused with the first cotyledonous leaves).

Important! For many annuals with large seeds, picking is contraindicated, they are sown immediately in separate containers. These are flowers such as nasturtium, castor oil plant, morning glory, sweet peas and others.

A week after the pick, the seedlings must be fed. It is better to dilute any liquid flower dressing twice the norm so as not to burn the delicate roots.

Two weeks before planting on a flower bed, seedlings begin to be accustomed to open ground conditions, taking them out into the air, first for several hours and shading them from direct sun and wind. Every day the time spent on the street is gradually increased.

Seedlings of most annual flowers can be planted outdoors in late May - early June.

Growing seedlings of annuals is an interesting and educational process that can teach you a lot. As a result, you will be able to plant your site with a varied palette of colors that will delight you throughout the summer until late autumn.

Watch the video: Garden Tutorial: Planting Direct Seeding Annuals (February 2023).

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