Front Garden

Front Garden
Full Bloom

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Starting Petunias - 02/16/2013

I use Purple Wave petunias for my hanging baskets. The goal every year is to have the hanging baskets reach the railing of my porch by the first heavy frost. Due to my local climate, I can only put my petunias out around June 1st.

Petunia seedlings grow slowly. I have to start mine in February to get them ready for the June 1st planting.

I use peat pots to start my seeds. I like to use peat pots because it keeps me from disturbing the root systems of the seedlings. The roots grow firmly into the peat pots. I just pop the peat pot into a larger container of soil and let the the roots grow out of the pot.

I let the peat pots soak in water until they are full size and moist.
The peat pots start to absorb water.
Almost full grown.
Letting the excess water, if any, drain out.
The petunia seeds are very small. The planting process requires patience. I let one seed stick to my finger and drop into the center of the peat pot.
I then gently push the seed into the peat pot. Do not cover the seed with soil. Petunia seeds need light to germinate.

I cover the seed tray with a plastic cover.

Petunia seeds need light to germinate. I use  three levels of lighting so I don't cook the seedlings as they emerge.

At initial planting, I put the grow lights about 2ft above the seedlings and give them about 4 hrs of light.  I spray the seedlings with water about twice a day. When the plants emerge, I drop the lights down about 6 inches keeping the 4 hr exposure.
 After a week I drop the lights down to regular seedling height and keep them "On" for 12 hours. I also remove the clear plastic cover. It is very important to keep the seedlings and peat pot moist. I spray the seedlings twice a day. I also pour some water in the tray so the peat pots can soak it up and keep the roots moist.

Every step is small and important. But the results are worth it. Good luck !!

No comments:

Post a Comment