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Help please - when to begin using grow light?

Posted by patreesh 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 10:09

I am starting salvia patens and carnations today. Do I wait for germination before putting them under lights or do they need to be under the light in order to germinate? Any other tips on these particular seeds would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much.


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RE: Help please - when to begin using grow light?

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 13:51


There are several synonyms for Salvia patens, none of which are listed in my copy of Deno. Some Salvia are tricky, and require alternating warm and cool temperatures, and some species require light while others prefer dark. Hopefully someone with direct experience can provide you with some specific information.

I usually put my seeds under lights, under a humidity dome, as soon as I plant them. But I have no experience with salvia or carnations. Bubel says that Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage) needs some light to trigger germination, so cover slightly, if at all. Parks Success with Seeds says Salvia annual species says alternating temperatures between 68 and 86 F, with no cover for red flowering salvias which need light for germination. I don't know about Salvia patens.


RE: Help please - when to begin using grow light?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 14:17

Surface sow the salvia patens as some light may be beneficial to germination. That doesn't mean they need to be under your grow light (where they could dry out quickly while waiting for germination), just do not exclude light completely and don't put them where they have none at all for any hours of the day or cover them deeply. 60-68F is warm enough for germination. While not always necessary, a brief moist chill of 3 weeks or so may improve germination, and do not expect to see all seeds germinating at the same time - germination may be staggered/erratic.

RE: Help please - when to begin using grow light?

As morz8 explained, Salvia patens seed should be placed on the surface of the soil and can be covered VERY lightly, but it does need light to germinate. By carnations, if you mean Dianthus, they also require light to germinate. Of course, once they have germinated, they need at least 14 hours of light from both the warm and cool light spectrum (what you get from a grow light) about 4 inches from the top of the leaves.

RE: Help please - when to begin using grow light?

Thanks for your help. I planted the carnation (heirloom seeds - dianthus caryophyllus, from Renee's Garden) on Saturday and they sprouted on Sunday. I made a mistake, as I put them in the cell tray with S. patens and delphiniums. Now I see that delphiniums germinate in a cool environment and I've been using a heat mat. The salvia are beginning to sprout. How do I nurture these along and not let them become spindly? Using a grow light about 2" above seedlings but carnations already look spindly. Removed heat mat today. Thanks for any info.


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