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seedlings not moving

Posted by cbfindlay z6 OH (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 14, 10 at 13:27

OK, so I was SO happy I finally, after a few years of trying, got some giant pacific mix dephinium seedlings to pop their heads out of the soil. They're in paper egg cartons in seed starting mix. I had them in the fridge in the pots for a few weeks, saw nothing, took them out, a week later I had six or seven (of twelve) little happy guys popping up.
I did it in a sunny window, no lights. During the day, assuming it's above 30-40 degrees, I put them outside, where they get morning sun. I take them in at night, as much because we have some undesirables out there messing with them as because of temperature. I water them with 10% hydrogen peroxide to keep them from damping off. I wait until the mix is slightly damp but not dry to water, and I try not to make mud out of them when I water.
However, since they sprouted at least two weeks ago, although a few more are sprouting, they haven't grown a BIT. It's really weird. I have some sunflowers and poppies and cosmos developing next to them, SLOWLY but growing. But the delphs still just have their two little lime-green seed leaves and don't seem to be either dying or growing. One little guy's seed leaves are still stuck in the seed case by the tips, and have been for a week! What gives? Am I doing something wrong? Should I feed them or something?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: seedlings not moving

Ok, first of all, from your screen name/location, you must have some involvement with the University of Findlay, so that is awesome. :)

Secondly, I am absolutely enamored of delphinium and they are the one seed I cannot grow with any measurable success. I did manage to raise one precious seedling this year, and just planted him out in the garden this week. I started, literally, hundreds of delphinium seeds. I wintersowed some, I tried the paper towel method; the only ones I got to germinate were Centurion Rose from T&M, and of course they were the most expensive and I got the fewest in the pack. Of those that germinated, one survived. And let me tell ya, I germinated those back in January and the lone survivor has just now this week gone out in the garden. They can be s-l-o-o-o-w. Just be happy they are alive. :) A few tips I've found... When you do transplant, I've found mine are very happy in Fox Farm Ocean Mix potting mix; actually, all of my seedlings are thriving in this, I really love it. The delph in particular seemed to like the richer soil mix. Also, they are real sensitive, when transplanting, to being transplanted deeper than the level they were at. They don't like it. So anyway, it sounds like whatever you are doing is working for now, so don't stress that they aren't doing much. Having that few hours of daylight isn't going to help them grow very fast; if you could supplement with some more hours of fluorescent light, that could only help things. Also, an egg carton isn't very deep, so it won't be long before they've used up all the soil space available for root growth. One thing I have noticed with the delphs is that they did put on a noticeable growth spurt when I moved them up to larger containers. So that's something else to consider.

RE: seedlings not moving

For what it is worth, my experience is that you can "over-think" delphiniums. I'm pretty amateur, but I just plant them (no prechilling) in good seed mix, keep them warm and damp (with ventilation) and I get really good germination. I've been doing it that way for years with very good success with all sorts of varieties. I recently posted to this forum (I think) asking if they needed light or dark to germinate (I read conflicting information). No one had a definitive answer, so some of mine had light, some dark, and they all germinated.

RE: seedlings not moving

Ok now, Susan, I have tried delphs every which way but sideways, but I haven't tried 'damp (with ventilation)'. Do you mean with a dome propped open? No dome, just misting the soil every so often? If we stay in our current house, I wanted to give delphs another go later in the summer to plant out this fall for next year, so I'll never give up on them. My problem is, I think, that they are rather slow germinators, making them prone to rot quickly in the mix. I've tried surface sowing, but then they just sit there. While I agree that I probably do 'over think' them, I clearly haven't found success yet, using the normal techniques.

RE: seedlings not moving

Yes, the dome left ajar. BTW, one thing I use with all my seed starts is bird gravel. I cover them with the gravel rather than soil. It seems to help. Also, I start with damp (not sodden) seed starter. I like the one from Gardener's Supply - it seems to work for me and I don't mess with success. But honestly, I don't do anything special with them. I try to resist rewatering the pots unless they really look dry - so maybe that's how I avoid any rotting?

RE: seedlings not moving

I'll give it a shot! At this point, I'd try dancing backwards around a campfire carrying the seeds if I thought it would help. :) Thanks for the input!

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