In terms of beauty, duration of flowering and a variety of forms, this flower has no equal. Only now its seedlings on the market are not cheap. Therefore, we will consider how to properly grow petunia seedlings at home from seeds, we will learn the secrets of obtaining strong, healthy plants, prepared for life in the fresh air and active flowering.
- How to choose seeds
- Containers for seedlings of petunias
- What soil to use
- How to sow correctly
- When to sow
- How to dive seedlings and when
- Correct care
- How to feed seedlings
- We grow seedlings with pinching without it
How to choose seeds
This question is rather interesting for novice gardeners who do not yet have their favorite varieties of petunias. It should be borne in mind that seeds of bush varieties are more suitable for growing in the ground, they look magnificent, they branch very actively. Ampel varieties are planted in hanging boxes or baskets. They can be planted thicker, they branch reluctantly, even with systematic pinching.
Petunia seeds can be plain or coated. The latter are easier to sow, but for their germination, sufficient soil moisture is required; in a dry environment, the shell will not dissolve. Pelleted seeds have strict storage periods, violation of which leads to loss of germination. It turns out. that ordinary seeds are more reliable, although they can be difficult to sow due to their very small size.
There is some danger in buying a mixture of different varieties. The flowering of plants from such mixes does not always meet expectations. It is better to choose specific varieties, then there will be a guarantee that the color scheme of your green spaces will match the one you expect.
The purchase of seeds should be made only in stores, those that have proven themselves well, it is also better to take seeds from trusted manufacturers.
Even knowing how to grow petunia seedlings at home, you can fail due to poor seed germination.
When buying, it is better to choose seeds in bags with an inner layer of foil or plastic wrap: Such seeds do not lose their germination for 2 years. The shelf life of planting material in paper bags is only one year.
Containers for seedlings of petunias
Food plastic boxes with lids can be used as containers for seedlings - these are convenient ready-made mini greenhouses.
You can keep the seedlings in them until the pick: the containers are easily ventilated, the transparent lids will let in a sufficient amount of light for the growing plants.
What soil to use
The seedling soil mixture should have a neutral acidity level between pH 5.5 and 6.5. Soil acidification can lead to the development of chlorosis in young plants.
As for the composition, the soil mixture should include:
- river sand;
- perlite or vermiculite.
It is recommended to heat the soil by calcining it in the oven.
It makes sense to consider the method of seeding in soil mixture with hydrogel. Soak it in a fertilizer solution suitable for petunias, for example - Kemira. Seedlings get access to the necessary amount of moisture and additional nutrients.
How to sow correctly
Petunia seeds are very small, they are laid out on the surface of the substrate and not sprinkled on top - otherwise they may not germinate. But sowing very small seeds evenly is quite difficult.
Experienced flower growers advise using a moistened wooden toothpick: by picking up the tip of the seed, you can gently transfer it to the seedling container and lay it on the ground surface. You can also use toothpicks to mark where you place the seeds. To ensure contact of the seeds with the soil, they are slightly pressed against the surface.
There is an option of sowing petunia seeds on the snow, they are clearly visible on a white surface.
After placing the seeds on the surface, the substrate is sprayed with warm water from a spray bottle. Then the containers are covered with lids (Polyethylene, glass). Condensation may collect on the lid. therefore, the crops are ventilated from time to time. It is also recommended to maintain the moisture content of the soil, it should not dry out.
Seedlings should be expected for 2 weeks, if before this time the sprouts have not appeared - then the seeds are of poor quality, even if they germinate later, the plants will be weak and require more careful care.
When determining the number of seeds, it should be borne in mind that petunia sprouts are very fragile; in the process of development and picking, the possibility of losses cannot be excluded. Those. it is advisable to sow more seeds than seedlings are required.
Let's watch a video on how to sow petunia seeds correctly:
When to sow
It is advisable to calculate the sowing time on your own, based on the expected dates of planting plants in open ground. It should be taken into account whether there are late spring frosts in the area where you live. For the development of a full-fledged plant, ready for planting, on average, it will take from 2 to 2.5 months.
For the Middle Lane, the best time for sowing is the third decade of February - early March. If you want to get early flowering, you can sow petunia for seedlings earlier, but you will need to organize high-quality lighting, strictly control the temperature, and avoid drafts.
How to dive seedlings
Diving consists in carefully transplanting seedlings into personal pots or plastic cups. It should be borne in mind that petunias have a branched and extensive root system. Since growing seedlings takes a relatively long time, at least 2 months, or even all 3, as practice shows, you should think about the option of containers with a sufficient volume of soil. If the roots are in cramped conditions, then it will not be possible to get full-fledged seedlings.
If there are no conditions for placing large containers with seedlings, then they practice transplanting first into small glasses. After about a month, the plants are transplanted into larger containers.
It may seem to someone that there is too much fuss with a double transplant, but it should be understood that the reward for hard work will be excellent strong seedlings with formed buds. The bushes easily tolerate the procedure for transplanting into the ground, quickly adapt to new living conditions.
A pick is made after the appearance of the first pair of true leaves, about a week after the emergence of shoots. If there is enough space for the growth of bushes, then you can take your time with the pick and move it for a while until the second pair of leaves appears.
When transplanting, the stems are buried to the level of placement of cotyledon leaves, a deeper planting threatens the stretching and stretching of the plants. Excessive deepening is also undesirable, plants may even die.
It's time to learn how to properly grow petunia seedlings at home, i.e. Learn the secrets to getting healthy, attractive plants.
Let's clarify that petunias love good lighting, i.e. February crops will definitely need to be illuminated. Backlighting begins after the emergence of sprouts; in low light, the plants will stretch.
Artificial lighting will be required for seedlings until about mid-May, but if the recommended temperature regime is maintained, then additional lighting can be minimized at the end of April.
The second point is the temperature regime. The ideal option is to maintain the temperature within + 23 + 25 C until shoots appear. After the emergence of seedlings, it will be necessary to systematically ventilate the containers, it is necessary to increase the ventilation time gradually, too sharp changes in temperature can destroy delicate plants. Greenhouses are aired 2-3 times a day; it is possible to completely remove the shelter if it interferes with the further growth of bushes.
After picking, the matured seedlings continue to harden, for which the temperature is slowly reduced. It is recommended to keep the daytime temperature at + 18 + 20 С, night temperature +15 С.
Watering the seedlings should be done carefully, avoiding water getting on the leaves. Watering is carried out as the soil dries up in containers, petunia does not tolerate excessive moisture in the soil and suffers from insufficient moisture. In addition, high soil moisture can lead to rot.
The ideal option is the organization of drip irrigation, it is he who provides moderate soil moisture.
Detailed information on growing petunias, see a useful video:
How to feed seedlings
Petunia develops quickly, so it is recommended to feed the seedlings. If during planting soil was used with the addition of a hydrogel, then the need for dressings will come later, they will need to be produced less often. For top dressing, you can use complex fertilizers, which are usually used for flowers.
But it is more correct to apply phosphorus-containing fertilizers 10 days after the pick: they contribute to the development of the root system. After the incident of the next 10-14 days, nitrogen feeding is carried out. Then you can fertilize with potash fertilizers, you can - special, complex. Fertilizers can be applied once every two weeks, or every 3-4 days, while proportionally reducing the dose (3-4 times).
If there is a suspicion that the growth points are dying off, the addition of boric acid can be applied.
We grow seedlings with pinching without it
It is advisable to pinch only bush varieties, ampelous in any case will grow in length, the formation of lateral shoots will be weak. You should not get carried away with pinching, too frequent a procedure postpones the beginning of flowering.
Pinching is done with your fingers or nail scissors. It consists in removing the top of the shoots, literally two developed leaves. The cut should be made closer to the extreme leaf on the branch. The cut line should not go across the stem, but slightly obliquely. After the procedure, the plant is more actively gaining green mass due to the appearance of new shoots. During this period, it should be fed with a complex fertilizer containing nitrogen.
You can try to root the cut tops of the heads, for this, the twig is dipped into the ground with a cut and looked after as if a sapling had been picked up.
The peculiarity of modern hybrids is that they do not require pinching, they bush on their own. Do not be upset if the shoots stretch out: after landing in the ground, they will definitely get their own.
Growing without pinching, even of common varieties, has some advantages: plants without numerous side shoots take root better when transplanted. In flower beds, such bushes develop rapidly, actively bloom, and their flowering period is longer: they saved a lot of energy in the first stage of their life.
Let's watch a useful video about pinching a petunia:
If all the recommendations for growing and the sowing dates are followed, then in the second decade of May the seedlings will be ready for planting in flower beds or in pots located on the street, of course, if weather conditions permit.
Knowing how to properly grow petunia seedlings at home, you can get excellent garden plants with an early onset of flowering. But to admire the lush flowering, knowledge, care skills and accuracy are still required.