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Best flats to use and obtaining size

Posted by sujiwan 6 MD (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 8, 12 at 12:01

I'm planning to start a large number of flower seeds this year including hardy perennials, native plants and naturalizing annuals. In the past I've started seeds in aluminum flats and 4 inch pots, then transplanted the tiny seedlings into prepared beds. This go, I'd like to grow the perennials to a larger size plug, then pot on so that I have something more substantial--possibly over a years time or earliest plant out in the fall. It gives me time to prepare my new planting area too.

Looking at all the options for flats, is there any advantage to particular shapes and sizes or depths for flower plugs? I've seen germination trays and plug flats with 200 /128/72/28/24 cells.

Most discussions I've seen on tray sizes have been from professional/market growers who don't want to spend a lot of time transplanting into progressively larger sizes. I would like to know if there are *advantages* to the hobbyist in using the smaller tray cells versus starting in the larger cells.

Do seeds germinate more quickly in smaller amounts of growing mix? How many times would one transplant to get to a quart sized plant? (I've seen single bitty plugs plunked into the center of gallon pots but those were for assembly line nurseries that have watering systems and whatnot to care for the plant from seeding through loading the trucks with product).

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best flats to use and obtaining size

nurseries that have watering systems

==>>> presuming you do not have a misting or watering system ...

i think your prime consideration should be how many times a day you need to water ...

i would bet those little quarter inch plug trays.. need to be watered a couple times a day ...

what potting up does.. in ONE SENSE ... is introduce fresh media ... if you put a seedling into a larger pot.. and leave it there for 3 to 6 months.. the media simply MIGHT get old ... and not drain nor perform to expectation .. the way you wish .. or accumulate salts [fert] .. which in the long run can be a problem ...

if i were you.. i would try MANY methods.. and see which fails.. and which performs..

the thought that you personally can ID and perform with ONE SYSTEM.. might end in disaster ...

finally.. germination is NOT variable ... its what you do with them after ...


ps: are you working in a greenhouse.. or will ambient humidity be a variable also??

RE: Best flats to use and obtaining size

Ken, thank you for responding. I just have been germinating and setting out perennials for years in the manner described in the initial post. I've never kept them in pots past a point where they are *just* large enough to be set out, although they needed to be shaded and coddled for a while. No greenhouse or watering system in place other than me checking status daily. I'm trying to avoid anything super finicky as far as germination goes or with a very slow growth rate.
I guess I'm asking if there is *any* benefit for the non professional to utilize these other types of flats and/or if one wants to grow a decent sized perennial "plug" to pot on only once, what the recommended size of the plug cell would be for good rooting start.

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