Help a newbie get torenia growing from seed

haloony(6B)August 11, 2011

Hey Gardenweb,

I only recently got into gardening and planting so I consider myself a pretty ignorant beginner. I feel that the best way for me to learn is to try to cultivate a plant from seed(not sure if I used cultivate correctly here, oh well). I once bought a Proven Winner Torenia for my mom and really liked it, so when I was thinking of a plant to start from seed, I settled on Torenia pretty quickly. I bought Clown Lemon Drop Torenia Seeds from

I was ready to begin so I filled a smallish pot with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix and pushed three seeds, in a triangle formation, very gently into the soil. I noticed, however, that the seeds were tiny. When I tried to water the plant, the seeds disappeared and because they are so small, I could not find them again. This was about a month ago. The pot is under a lamp and I have continued to water the soil. So far I have not seen any indication of growth. I have no idea if the seeds are getting enough light because I don't know where they are.

If anybody else has experience growing Torenia from seed please help me out. I bought a little packet of fifty seeds, so should i just replant? If I do replant, how do I avoid losing the seeds again? Or do you think that the seeds are probably ok and that I just need to be more patient. Since I am a beginner, any advice about potting-mix, lighting, watering, fertilizing, etc. would be much appreciated. Also, if anyone with Torenia experience has any advice to give, please do not hesitate to lay it on me.



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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

First rule of seed propagation is to do a bit of research on proper methods for the species you're wanting to grow. There's a nice little fact sheet at the 2bseeds site that will be helpful for you in the future.

For will learn that torenia needs sunlight in order to germinate. Darkness (by being buried) will inhibit germination.

Refill your little container with fresh potting soil, and water thoroughly. Do NOT use a real strong stream of water as that will compact a potting mix like MiracleGro. Once the pot has drained, gently press the seeds on the top (GENTLY) and use a mister to help settle the seeds in a bit. Cover with clear plastic with a couple of small holes poked though and place in a WARM location where there is some natural light available. An incandescent lamp probably doesn't provide the correct wave lengths.

Seed germination occurs best if the soil is kept on the warm side, which is why most of us who do bother to go through this process employ heat mats or heating wires.

Torenia should germinate in just a few days. You won't need to mist again for several days if you leave the plastic on. After you can see the first tiny leaves, you can remove the plastic and mist the soil to make sure those little roots have plenty of moisture. Leave the plastic off at that point.

Introduce your torenia to natural light slowly but surely. They thrive in a filtered light situation when grown in the garden or on the porch.

If you want to experiment with more plants, you might find the Annuals Forum to be a big help, and there is one which focuses on seed propagation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Torenia Fact Sheet

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 12:46PM
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Hey Rhizo_1,

Thanks for the quick response. I had figured it would be best to replant the seeds. I also have a mister and I can see how that would make things much easier. I think I am going to invest in a heat mat as well because I really would like to get something growing from seed.

I guess I should head to the annuals forum for more help. Thanks for the feedback!


    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 8:52PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If you intend to grow some things from seed, you'll be happy you invested a bit of cash in a heat mat. Bottom heat is very important to rapid seed germination. The less time a seed languishes in a wet potting medium, the better the chances of survival. Just remember that once the seed has germinated properly, the heat mat should be unplugged.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Welcome to gardening and the gardenweb forums, haloony.

Most garden-related stuff is dependent on your climate, less so with house plants, but it can still be an important factor in some discussions. Climates are divided into gardening zones. You can find your zone here. If you include your zone and state in your profile info, it will show up next to your name automatically when you say something on these forums. That will allow people to better know what kind of advice to give you. Most people include their state, too. The "8b AL" next to my name means I'm in zone 8b, in Alabama.

Your question/interest seems to be outdoor-gardening-related but posted to the house plants forum. That's fine even if your intention is to grow the torenia outside and we can discuss that here. But the advice is different, depending on your intent. So, with that in mind, I just had a few observations that could help you to be less frustrated in the future, inside and out.

The suggestion to investigate annual seeds is excellent, I had the same idea reading your post. But for most locations, the weather and amount of sunlight that are optimal to grow most annual seeds is winding down for this year. That's not to say that you can't have any luck growing some cool things from seed and shouldn't start now, but your success won't be as good as attempts you will hopefully make next spring. If you do attempt to grow annuals from seed indoors over the winter, even the plants described for shade will probably need some direct sun since the winter rays are so much less strong than summer rays. Plants described for full sun may not do much, even in a south-facing bow window. This is a factor where location (FL vs. VT, for example) would be very important to the info.

You can probably (dont know where you are) get some zinnia flowers from seed yet this year. They can go from seed to flower in about 6 weeks. It would need to be outside with lots of sunshine.

Torenia is not a traditional house plant. It's an annual, which makes flowers and then dies within the same year. The label "house plant" is usually given to long-lived plants that are known to grow or at least stay alive indoors. However, any plant growing in a home is a house plant, so the fun and experiments are virtually limitless.

If your goal is to have something green growing inside this winter, your best bet might be to buy a plant, or ask others who have plants if they are able to take a cutting of their plant for you. Many houseplants are as easy to pass on as snipping off a piece and "planting it" in a pot. Although not all are so easy to multiply from cuttings, that and division are the general methods by which most house plants are propagated. Most house plants are difficult to grow from seeds, do not have readily available seeds to harvest or buy, and/or take a very long time to grow from seeds. If you like avocados, try sprouting some of the pits. There...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I found one blue and white Torenia and loved it, had to buy it.I live in zone 11, hot Caribbean sun and high humidiy. With some cuttings ive tried them in full sun to shade and all in between. The leaves go a bit pale in the sun but still grow and at all times flowering profusely. My plant is growing in sandy gravel but the cuttings ive put into nice soft compost and seems they grow whatever they are put in.
When it comes to the seed.. I dead head the Torenia and throw them on the top of a plant pot with rubbish soil in. The pot got lost among foliage of a large plant and it dried out. When I came across it and inspected there were the tiniest of seedlings of torenia, not many but some. Ive some tiny pots so filled with soft compost and stood them in water to get soaked. Then I transplanted the seedlings and each night I stand the pots in water again, in the day I take them out.They are doing ok.
All this takes place in 34c heat.
To replicate I suggest; heat mat, stand filled pot on small plastic disposable tea plate (nice and thin)with water in for the pot to soak it up. Leave 24 hours before sowing seed on the top. Mine were not covered. Sow seed, do not cover pot. Top up the water (warm)in the tea plate for the pot to remain wet. After germination,remove pot from the water in the day and place back for an hour to wet again. Do not let direct sun onto the pot.
I think that should replace the heat,humidity,watering and light that mine had germinated in.
Ive gone crazy for these flowers now and ordered several packets of seeds. I will be sowing them, minus heat mat, in the same way as explained here.
Wishing us both luck... Dorne

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:36PM
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