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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Starting Your Perennial Flowers and Herbs Indoors: Light Germination Needed

I just wanted to put a blog out there to remind you that you can start flowers indoors. Flowers make a great addition to your vegetable beds. They attract beneficial insects, look great and can even be edible.  I started flowers and additional herbs in flats, about a week ago. They are sprouting as I type.

Flowers and Herbs to Start Indoors: Gary Pilarchik

I decided to start tarragon, sage, fennel and cumin. Starting seeds indoors does become an addiction. You have to constantly remind yourself they get LARGE! I never grew cumin before. I am also starting my Rudbeckias and Shasta Daisies. 

The principles for starting the above seeds indoors is the same as my recent blog. I wanted to show you something a bit more interesting and that is Coleus and Snapdragons. They aren't perennials but do take a long time to germinate and grow. They are great for starting indoors.  What makes them interesting?

Coleus and Snapdragons: Gary Pilarchik

What is interesting about these plants is that they NEED LIGHT to germinate. The preparation is a little bit different. You want to fill you cells up and pack them down firmly to the point the seeds won't fall beneath the starting mix. Starting mix is very porous. These seeds are small so the soil has to be packed tightly.

I always start these seeds after my other plants have germinated and the grow light get turned on for 10-12 hours.

Snapdragons Need Light to Germinate: Gary Pilarchik
Coleus Seeds Need Light to Germinate: Gary Pilarchik

The Snapdragon and Coleus seeds get pressed on the surface of the soil. It is important you provide them with a firm soil mix base in your cells. They need to sit on the mix and get direct light. Don't mix them under the starting mix.

Seed Cells with Firmed Down Starting Mix: Gary Pilarchik

The seed are small and you want to put 5 to 10 seeds in each cell. The Coleus don't divide that well but the Snapdragons are pretty hardy for dividing. You can go with a few seeds to a cell if you prefer but as I say all the time, I tend to over seed and prefer to divide them.

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