Tricks Of Sowing Begonia, Eustoma, Petunia And Other Small-seeded Crops. Necessary Conditions And Care. Photo

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Tricks Of Sowing Begonia, Eustoma, Petunia And Other Small-seeded Crops. Necessary Conditions And Care. Photo
Tricks Of Sowing Begonia, Eustoma, Petunia And Other Small-seeded Crops. Necessary Conditions And Care. Photo
Video: Tricks Of Sowing Begonia, Eustoma, Petunia And Other Small-seeded Crops. Necessary Conditions And Care. Photo
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Many ornamental plants have tiny, often literally dusty seeds. The florist has to adapt in order to sow such plants as efficiently as possible. Begonia, petunia, eustoma, lobelia, alyssum, bacopa, snapdragon and many others are tiny-seeded annuals that I sow almost every year. In addition to summer plants, small seeds are also tied to many perennial crops, for example, a bell. In this article, I'll share the tricks I use when planting my favorite flowers that have small seeds.

Tips for sowing begonia, eustoma, petunia and other small-seeded crops
Tips for sowing begonia, eustoma, petunia and other small-seeded crops

Content:

  • What to consider when planting small-seeded crops?
  • Subtleties of sowing pelleted seeds
  • From sowing to germination - conditions and care
  • "Family sowing" of small-seeded crops

What to consider when planting small-seeded crops?

With such a rich assortment of ready-made soils today, few flower growers make up a mixture for sowing seeds on their own. In my opinion, for small-seeded crops, purchased peat-based soils are indeed the best option. First of all, a crust never forms on them, which can be observed using, say, loam from the garden for sowing.

But the finished soil is different. When choosing soils for small-seeded flowers, it is better to avoid those that contain pieces of perlite. For tiny seedlings, they can become “heavy boulders” that prevent them from growing. In any case, it is better to sift the topsoil before sowing.

When filling containers with soil, make sure that the soil level is at least 1 centimeter below the edge of the container. Otherwise, when covered with a film to retain moisture, small seeds may stick to it.

When sowing crops with small seeds, it is important to keep at least one centimeter off the edge of the container. A gap often forms between the clod of earth and the walls of the container, and small seeds, even with the most careful watering, will very easily rush there with the stream of water. Sometimes it also happens that when watering or spraying, it carries away even delicate seedlings with an underdeveloped root system.

It is very difficult to dive for tiny seedlings, and this process takes a lot of time. You need to be extremely careful not to damage the fragile roots and stems. Therefore, it is extremely important here to maintain a distance between the seeds already during sowing.

There are some tricks used to spread the tiny seeds evenly over the surface of the substrate. For instance:

  • sowing on a layer of snow,
  • mixing seeds with fine sand,
  • use of special manual mini-seeders.

But for me it seemed the most optimal to use a toothpick (read more about this below). This method can be used both for seeds not covered with a special coating, and for pelleted ones.

Tiny sprouts of ever-flowering begonia on the left, eustoma on the right and a little more on the viola on the right
Tiny sprouts of ever-flowering begonia on the left, eustoma on the right and a little more on the viola on the right

Subtleties of sowing pelleted seeds

Once, at the dawn of my passion for flowers, I was faced with the need to sow ever-flowering begonia. I was extremely surprised that the seeds of this flower are literally dust. Fortunately, most seed producers nowadays use the pelleting method when packing small-seeded crops.

Each seed is covered with a layer of special glaze. As a result, the tiny seeds "grow in size" several times, making them more convenient to sow. In addition, the coating protects the seed during transportation from mechanical damage and other negative external factors.

In contrast to untreated seeds, pelleted seeds usually show a higher germination capacity. Seed manufacturers usually do not specify the composition of the glaze for the treatment of planting material, but sometimes fungicides, long-lasting fertilizers and growth promoters may also be included.

Such seeds are much more convenient to spread evenly over the soil surface. They are light in color (white, beige, light green, yellow, etc.). That is, they are better visible on the soil surface, in contrast to “naked” seeds, which usually have a dark shell.

Why does a florist need a toothpick?

To make the process of sowing granular seeds as fast and convenient as possible, our "grower's best friend" comes to our aid - a toothpick. I also appreciate this simple tool when sowing non-granular small-seeded annuals.

It is very easy to use. Gently pour the granules from the cone or bag into the left palm folded in a boat. Dip a toothpick in water with your right hand. Then we touch the dragee, which instantly attaches securely to the tip of a wet toothpick. Further manipulations are also extremely simple: place the pellets in the right place on the surface of the substrate.

At the same time, around the seed, slightly sinking it into the ground, with the same toothpick I usually make a small depression about 1 millimeter deep and 2 millimeters in diameter. This is to ensure that the seeds remain in place, and not move around the container during watering or spraying. Otherwise, the interval set during sowing may be violated.

In addition, in doing so, I also clear the way for future seedlings. Sometimes larger fibers are found in peat-based soil mixtures. They are not so massive that they are easy to spot, but for the tiny root of a small seed, they can become an insurmountable obstacle. If a toothpick, when compacting the granule into the soil, bumps into a hard fiber or a piece of bark, it must be shifted to the side.

Sowing granular seeds is important in a highly moist soil, as I call it "in a swamp". To do this, I water the soil very abundantly in the container and start sowing when there is still water on the surface of the substrate (about 1 millimeter level). In this case, many granules dissolve literally before our eyes, which means that they will not interfere with the rapid germination of the seed.

Sometimes the dragees come across more solid, and then immediately after sowing, I gently destroy the granule with a toothpick. But sometimes this does not help either, since some manufacturers use a very dense composition for processing granules, and it takes several days to soak the shell. In such situations, when airing containers with seedlings, I drip a few drops of water from a pipette onto the undissolved granules every day and also try to gently destroy the shell with a toothpick.

In my experience, if individual granules did not dissolve, despite all the manipulations, then seedlings from them should not be expected, and sometimes seedlings appear in a "hat", which never manage to remove their dense "helmet" of glaze, and they perish.

A florist's best friend is a toothpick
A florist's best friend is a toothpick

What are multi-granules?

Occasionally, the label “multi-granules” can be seen on the seed package. Often, the latter outwardly look like ordinary rounded dragees. Sometimes they have an irregular shape of lumps - multi-pellets consist of several seeds combined into a common granule.

Most often, seeds of those crops that can be grown in bunches (cereals, annuals with thin stems, for example, lobelia, alissum, etc.) are coated into multigranules. A bunch of seedlings that emerged from a multi-granule can not be divided. But if you need more plants, then they can be cut out when the first true leaves appear, or carefully divided into several parts when planting in the ground (cereals).

From sowing to germination - conditions and care

After sowing is complete, I cover the containers with a plastic bag and place them in the warmest place (under the battery) for a couple of days so that the seeds get a boost of heat in humid conditions. Then I transfer the crops under a phytolamp. As you know, most small-seeded crops germinate best in light. This is quite logical, because in nature, tiny seeds usually do not go deep into the soil, they remain on the soil surface, and their germination processes begin under the influence of sunlight.

Therefore, for those crops that are sown very early in January-February (begonia, eustoma, bacopa, etc.), I always use a phytolamp at a minimum distance from the containers. But for later crops, for example, petunias may have enough natural sunlight. In this case, the crops, covered with a transparent film, are placed on the windowsill without additional lighting.

From tiny seeds, equally tiny cotyledons unfold, making microscopic seedlings difficult to see. When growing seedlings of small-seeded crops, it is very important to know exactly the timing at which seedlings appear, and during this period to be especially careful during the daily airing of crops.

By the way, since I sow my seedlings in small containers, I find it very convenient to cover them with a cellophane bag, and during airing I just turn it inside out and then condensation drops remain on the surface. But flower growers have other options for arranging mini-greenhouses for seedlings.

In any case, during ventilation, it is important to carefully examine the surface of the substrate for seedlings. By the way, I have good eyesight, but it took a magnifying glass to see my first begonias. Consider this if you are planting small-seeded crops for the first time.

It is very important to notice the emergence of seedlings in time, since, in my experience, it is better to remove the film immediately. Although many sources advise keeping seedlings of small-seeded crops in a greenhouse until true leaves form, I would not advise doing this. In this case, the risk of developing a black leg increases significantly, mold often appears, and large drops of condensate drip on weak seedlings.

Of course, seedlings left without a protective film are very vulnerable. And the main danger for them is the drying out of the substrate. But here everything depends on you. During this period, it is very important to monitor the soil moisture level, not flooding, but also not allowing the earth to dry out completely. It is more convenient to water tiny seedlings from a pipette, syringe or immerse a container with crops for a while in a pan with water.

6 varieties of petunias fit easily into one plastic container
6 varieties of petunias fit easily into one plastic container

"Family sowing" of small-seeded crops

Small-seeded crops are convenient because many of them take up very little space on the windowsill, since they develop very slowly at the beginning of their life. In particular, begonias and eustomas, sown in a small container at a distance of 2-3 centimeters between the granules, I sometimes do not dive at all. I share the grown seedlings when planting in a permanent place.

Their fastest growth begins precisely in late spring and early summer. Before that, they feel good in a small box, without interfering with each other. This feature of small-seeded crops allows me to use the “family sowing” technique.

To save space on the windowsill when sowing several varieties of the same crop, I use a common container for them, divided into several sectors. My favorite containers for sowing annuals are plastic containers for soft cheese, yoghurts, curds, seaweed salads, etc.

After filling the container with soil, leveling it and moistening it well, I mark the surface. To do this, I use small, narrow strips that can be cut from the same containers or plastic packaging from children's toys. Deepening such strips into the ground, I get several "apartments" in one container, each of which is intended for a different variety.

Depending on the configuration of the container, they can be located parallel to each other (in rectangular containers) or radially from the center like clock hands (if the container is round). The size of the compartments is determined by the number of seeds to be sown as well as the distance of sowing.

As for the latter, I usually proceed from the fact that for petunias and other letniks who will be subsequently cut down, a distance of one centimeter between the granules will be sufficient for the development of seedlings before the dive. And begonias, eustomas and other slowly growing annuals (which can be grown without picking) need to set a distance of 2-3 centimeters.

In this case, the granules in the compartment, I usually have a "snake" or staggered. In each sector, be sure to insert a separate label indicating the grade. I try not to combine several different crops within the same container, because they may take different times for seedling to appear, and they can also differ in different growth rates.

I also try to group ampel varieties of petunias with ampel, and bush with bush, low-growing varieties of begonias with low, and tall with tall. Thus, I get from 2 to 10 varieties of petunias in one container (depending on the size and number of seeds). In other "houses" there are 2-5 varieties of begonias, a separate "house" for several varieties of eustomas, etc.

Of course, it also happens that some varieties emerge a little faster or grow more intensively than others. In order not to delay the dive, in such cases, I just carefully cut out the sector with the grown seedlings with a knife and dive into individual pots. After that, I fill the vacated cell with soil, and the laggards calmly remain to grow up in the "family" container.

Dear Readers! Sowing tiny seeds for seedlings will, of course, require more skill and attention than growing crops with larger seeds. Nevertheless, knowing the basic subtleties of the process, even novice florists can do it. In addition, in my opinion, picking out large thickened crops is much more difficult than picking small ones that initially grow at a given interval. Therefore, let small flower seeds not scare you, but inspire you!

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