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Showing Off my Seedlings

Posted by mandolls 4WI (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 7:30

I started a few plants from seed Jan 19th, and have been adding to them pretty much every week since. I have about 25 trays of plants going now.

This is my 4th year growing all of my annuals from seed. I use 4ft shop lights and plastic cups.

Here are a few of the biggest/healthiest, so far. They are all in 9 oz cups now.

Tidal Waves that I have cut back twice already.

Yellow Horizon Petunia, a much more compact growth habit, so I have not cut them back yet.

LImelight and Black Dragon Coleus. These are the biggest. a lot of the black dragon are half the size, but growing. I topped them a few days ago to encourage branching.

Dandy Dahlia MIx - a small bedding Dahlia

Maverick Coral Geraniums, I topped these too.

All of my wintered over zonal geraniums are blooming now, they are just in windows. I have never had them burst into bloom so early.

Spring is coming!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

you got some great stuff there .. congrats ...

those are some of the healthiest home grown.. indoors in z4 ... plants i have ever seen ...

how many light banks for 25 flats????

the humidity in your house must be out of this world ... seeing that 50 feet of snow out the window.. i was surprised the windows werent steamed ...

keep up God's work.. you are a master .. IMHO ...


RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Hi Mandolls,I'm impressed & at this stage of the game it takes a lot to impress me LOL Would you start everything this early if you had it to do over ?I seeded my petunias Mar 5 & they are ready for moving on. Not sure if I will go right into 41/2s or into 5oz Solos first.
I like the plastic cups or styro cups but cups are more tippy.I ended up with 16oz Hefty cups last year.The local greenhouse is having to do lots of pinching,too.I do a lot from cuttings too.I have a greenhouse but put seedlings under light to extend daylight.Extra day length is so beneficial.But when I transplant I will no longer put under light in house.Lots of fun!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings


Ken - I am no master, just dedicated and lucky, and remember I am only showing my successes . I also tried Tuberous Begonias this year, and out of about 50 germinated seeds only about 20 are still alive, and only half of those look good. I have lost a lot of Lisianthus along the way too.

I have 9 set ups, some shelves some table spaces, with 2 lights (per 4 flats) on most of them and 3 on a few of the shelves where the younger plants are. Right now I have room for 8 more flats, and another table space for 4 more if I buy 2 more lights. Since I havent started most of my vegetables yet I suspect I will have to.

Rose - I did start a month earlier than last year, partly to relieve my winter blues, partly because I wanted to have hanging baskets that were full and lush when I put them out in May. Would I do it again - ask me again in May, if they are all still healthy - absolutely. The cups are tippy. You can see in the coleus photo, I have most of the trays lined with 4x4 cell packs to stabilize them. They work for both the little 3 oz cups that I start most things in and the 9 oz cups that I pot up into (though I cant fill every cell when I am in the 9 oz's)

I bought the cell packs to plant directly in originally, but didnt like the fact that I had to cut them all apart in order to transplant. The 9 oz cups only take a little more room and hold twice as much soil mix, so hopefully will be fine until I move them into baskets or outside.

I did root the Tidal Wave cuttings that I pinched off. I have potted up a few of those and am waiting for roots on the latest ones.

Spring is bound to get here soon. Last year this time I was out cleaning up my perennial beds by now !

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

  • Posted by mxk3 z5b/6 MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 11:23

Very healthy looking plants!

Curious, though - why did you start so early? Were you experimenting? I normally don't start flower seeds until end of March/beginning of April unless they need a long time under the lights (petunias don't).

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Those look fantastic and judging from the snow outside I know exactly why you have them growing indoors. If you get desperate and can rig up a coldfame, that would be a good place for the petunias and geraniums, I'm sure you know they can handle a little frost.

Do you have a fan on them or is it just the lights? They look so healthy and stocky..... and I wouldn't judge you based on the begonias and lisianthus, their seed is practically dust and I've been to plenty of professional greenhouses where you can see even they had trouble keeping them going indoors.

I use the cups too, they're the only thing I can get with the depth for things like tomatoes.

I look at your pictures and wish I'd of started my things a couple weeks earlier.
Great job!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Kato- I actually dont have a fan on them, but I probably should. I have had some issues with algae growth on the slow growers this year.

By the end of this week we are supposed to have weather in the mid 40's, though still in the 30's at night. I will be able to start moving some of them out during the day at least for a few hours. I have some low tunnels that I can set up once the snow melts. They willl help ease the transition.

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Hi Mandolls,
I am very impressed with your seedlings, especially the petunias. Makes me wish I would have already started some of these. When did you sow them?

I started some impatiens and dragonwing begonias in mid January. The impatiens are ready to bloom while the begonias are still very small.

I also started some bell peppers and zinnias this week. I am hoping the temps warm up a bit so that I can put the zinnias outside in my portable greenhouse.

And I started about 50 dahlias in the house too, now I am completely out of room until I can move some of the stuff outside.


RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

  • Posted by edie_h 5bNY (Finger Lakes) (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 2:43

Starting seeds early and then taking cuttings sounds to me like a smart way to get extra plants cheap. Especially with the more expensive seed varieties. I'll have to remember that for next year.

I'm growing tuberous begonias from seed too. It's my fourth year experimenting with them. I've killed lots. If I have a few healthy plants by May, and they would have cost more than the seed packet, I consider it a success. If not, it was a learning experience. I've definitely learned why begonias produce vast numbers of seeds.

Your plants look amazing. Thank you for sharing the pictures. Is that blooming geranium one of last year's seedlings?

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Hi Linda - Thanks - at this point it is starting to feel a bit much. I definitely started to many of them early. Sunday it took me almost 3 hours to just go through, checking, pinching back all of the petunias and watering each plant. I am up to 32 trays now, including quite a few that were just sprouting this past week.

My Impatiens were another thing that I didnt do well with this year. I think I have 8 that survived and are healthy, but I lost about half of them when they were tiny. I am hoping to be able to take cuttings from what is left, they are almost big enough for that now.

Dahlias tubers are still boxed up, I plan on starting to wake them mid April.

Edie - The idea of taking cuttings from the waves came from someone else on GW. Those wave seed are pricey, but out of 10 seeds I am getting at least 25-30 plants with cuttings. Could be a lot more, but I only need so many.

This is my first year seeding geraniums, the blooming one was a plant purchase 3 -4 years ago. They were very easy from seed, so it is definitely the way to go from now on. I started them the same time as the tuberous begonias and I dont think I have a begonia yet that is the size of a single geranium leaf!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Hi Mandolls,I bet you are starting to feel the crunch! Wouldn't be so bad if weather was like last year.I have to force myself to resist the urge to start to early. Don't feel bad,the pros are having the same problem.They started early anticipating an early spring & it isn't happening.
I had a hard time with some of my cuttings.Any secrets?

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Hi Rose,

I have had very good luck with most of the cuttings I have tried. I use those clear plastic clam shell boxes that some pastry/coffee cake is sold in. I use a mix of 50/50 pearlite and vermiculite, and soak it good, The boxes are set on my lights shelf, not under the lights but next to the end, where they get the warmth, but not a lot of light. Warmth and humidity seem to be key. The Petunias started forming roots in less than a week, but needed 2-3 before they were ready to transplant into soil.

I dont use rooting hormone anymore, it seems that most things dont need it. I have read that geraniums actually secrete a rooting hormone from cuttings, and that they will root better if there are lots of cuttings in a smallish container. I dont know if that is true with other plants, but it seems to be working.

I just got my first Dahlia bloom!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Wow,Mandolls,that dahlia is beautiful.I have grown some dahlias from seeds but not this year. What seed mix is that from?Did you mean you stick the petunias in a community container to root? This is my 3rd year for rooting petunias & I end up with a lot but seemed to have some fail this year.I stuck them in 5oz cups & keep under cover in big plastic box.I use a heat mat.
Greenhouse guy told me tonight that Wave types need an acid fertilizer & iron.
Have fun!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Nice Dahlia! Wish I would have thought about starting from cuttings I would have had those expensive petunias going strong by now. Great idea for next year.

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Rose - yes, in one of those 8"x8" clam shell boxes I can squeeze in about 30 cuttings. They dont all make it, but certainly most of them do. I try to cut them so that I can bury at least one leaf node under the pearlite/vermiculite mix. They are about 3" cuttings, about half buried. A couple of days after I transplant them into soil, I cut off the growing tips so that they bush out. If you are covering them and using a heat mat then I would expect them to do well. What are you rooting them in?

The Dahlia is a "Dandy Mix" - I believe from Sample Seed, I have about 25 of them going. I grow a lot of full sized Dahlias, but just started growing the bedding type last year. They start blooming a lot earlier, and I can squeeze them in lots of places. Last year I mixed quite a few into my vegetable garden, and loved them. I havent tried this mix before, they are blooming even earlier and at a smaller size than the "Firecracker" I grew last year. I tried to save the tubers from those, but they were very small, so I dont know how well they will save. (I havent checked them yet - still in cold storage)

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Mandolls,I usually use a starter mix that I have on hand. I start lots of things in a community pot.I don't know why I've not done petunias that way.I do believe in community pots.I put cuttings from an overgrown geranium in a jar of water & I think every one has roots.Faster than the 4 I put in soil.
I'm fixing to pot some dahlias in hopes of getting some cuttings from them.I've taken a liking to dahlias .They provide later color.
Thanks for the tips.My latest "something new" learnedLOL.It is when you get to thinking you know it all that gets one in trouble.
rose Iowa

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Mandolls- any update? I'd love to know how you made out now that things are sorta warming up!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Spring is just now getting to my part of the world. Here are a few pics from today. Its their first day outside getting used to the real world weather. This is only about half of what I have going, but the rest are still in smaller cups and not ready for prime time.

Here I have some Tidal Wave and a mixed tray of Petunias, Galardia, Impatiens, Lobelia, a few coleus, plus some Nappa Cabbage and decorative kale

The rest of the Petunias, Yellow Horizon, Celebrity Niagra, Dolce Flambe, and some onion starts down at the end of the table

And the bedding dahlias who are still inside

Right now I am focusing on vegetables - and just trying to keep these alive and heathy till I can get them planted.

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

VERY nice! I'm super impressed. I sure hope that you get to the point when you can get them outside, soon.

I had a thought when reading this thread....I wonder if the algae might be caused partially by the fact that you're using transparent/translucent containers for some of the plants?

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Wow! You did a great job, I'm inspired by your success and need to step things up over here, some of the things I pick up at the nursery don't look half as good as yours.

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Thanks - I am pretty proud of how well everything is doing. Next year I definitly will not start the bedding Dahlias so early. They all badly need to be potted up, and if I do I wont have space for them. At this point they are bone dry in two days. The Petunias seem to be happy living in 9oz cups. Some of the older ones need water every 2-3 days, but as long as I keep up with it they seem happy. I am down to about 6 begonias now - out of the original 50 that germinated - so I have a lot to learn about those. In smaller pots still I have asters, zinnia, torenia, coreopsis, celosia, and pansies, plus a ton of basil and other veg garden starts.

Today I am outside cleaning up beds, Crocus are up and blooming and Daffodils, Iris and Peonies are emerging -its finally spring !!!

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

So very impressive--thanks for all the info. Could you tell me what brand of seeds you used. Thanks a lot

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

Flora - I purchased my seed from three different companies. Sample Seed, Swallowtail Seed and Johnny's Seed. I have no idea what or if there are "brands"" involved. I know that most of the seed Sample Seed sells she buys from whlole-sale suppliers. Swallowtail and Johnny's produce some of their own, I think, or at least have others producing specifically for them. Swallowtail has a huge assortment.

Since I last posted we got 8" of snow, so everything that was hardening off had to come inside for 4 days, but they went back out yesterday, and I may start my planting at the end of the week. The long term forecast looks good (finally!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Swallowtail Garden Seed

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

I have been reading this post and other posts to understand how to handle seedlings and to get general instructions.

While I was searching for Petunia I hit upon this post.
After seeing the inspirational seedlings of Mandolls I sowed Petunia's for the first time ( ok it was my first seed sowing too :) ).

All went well,
seeds sowed on 24-Aug
germinated - 27-Aug
transplaned into cups - 06-Sep (immediately after the seedlings had true leaves)

Today 18-Sep they are not big enough. They just have an extra set of leaves.
The seeds were sowed in coco peat cups and in are open. Should I fertlize them.
I have a water soluble fertilizer which says NPK- 18-18-18. The instruction I got was dissolve 5ml in 1ltr. Is this OK?

The temperature in my city is :90°F
Precipitation: 70%
Humidity: 65 %

Need guidance on fertilizing. Thanks in advance.

RE: Showing Off my Seedlings

For Chellam in India:
Fertilize seedlings at a quarter of recommended strength. Peat cups are not good to grow in. Next time, start in plastic with bottom holes. Also, petunias like cooler weather. Have fun with many types of seeds.

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