Classic almost care free summer annual. Beautiful full clusters of flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds love.

Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) February 25, 2012

Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)

Richard K. ZimmermanWVU Extension ServicePlant Sciences & Conservation Specialist

Family: Balsaminaceae–Balsam family
Scientific Name: Impatiens wallerana
Origin: Tanzania to Mozambique
Classification: Annual, houseplant
Use: Hanging basket, bedding, pot culture, window boxes
Height: 9 to 30 inches
Spread: 9 to 30 inches
Hardiness: Indoors 50oF to 55oF (10oC to 13oC); outdoors until frost
Flowers: Early summer to fall; solitary in racemes on terminal and axillary shoots; up to 2� inches in diameter; solid colors of white, pink, salmon, purple, orange or red, and many bicolor; single, double and semi-double; numerous
Fruit: Capsule, � inch long, glabrous
Stems (Bark): Herbaceous, fleshy, green 
Foliage: Alternative, upper leaves sometimes opposite; lanceolate-ovate; green or reddish green on both surfaces
Texture: Fine to medium
Growth Rate: Rapid
Form: Spreading, rounded, flat topped
Insects & Diseases: Scale, spider mites, aphids; damping off
Propagation: Seed sown indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last occurrence of frost (late February to mid-March); give bright light but not direct sun; artificial lights, such as Grow Lamps, should be used–place 6 to 12 inches above the flats for 12 to 14 hours a day; soil temperature should be 70oF (21oC) and air temperature 75oF (24oC) for good germination; seed should germinate in one to two weeks; grow plants at 58oF (14.4oC) to 60oF (15.5oC); cuttings, anytime, place in sand and mist or enclose in a polyethylene plastic bag.
Varieties: Many varieties and series introduced each year with varying colors and sizes.

Dwarf forms: 8 to 10 inches tall, compact, 12-inch spacing; many colors; series includes Elfin, Elfin Improved; Elfin Improved bloom earlier and more profusely.

Semi-dwarf forms: 10 to 12 inches tall, flowers 1 to 2 inches across; spacing 14 inches, solid and bicolored blooms; series includes Duet, Fantasia, Futura, Minette, Novette, Ripple (star pattern in blooms), Rosette (blooms like a miniature rose), and Twinkle.

Tall forms: 12 to 14 inches tall, flowers 1� to 2 inches across; solid and bicolors; spacing 18 inches; series includes Grande, Blitz, Stars and Stripes, Tangelow and Treasure; New Guinea-Indonesian hybrids have leaves with red or yellow markings and variegations, to 24 inches tall; good for pot culture.

Related Species: Impatiens balsamina–Garden Balsam or Rose Balsam; annual to 2� feet; flowers axillary, close to stem, 2 inches across, many colors, some spotted.
Remarks: May be called Balsam, Sultana, Touch-Me-Not, Snap Weed, Jewel Weed, Busy Lizzy, Patient Lucy, Patience Plant or Zanzibar Balsam; may be listed asImpatiens sultana or Impatiens holstii; stems and leaves reported to be toxic.

Indoor Culture

Soil Requirement: All-purpose soil composed of two parts garden loam, one part leaf mold or peatmoss and one part coarse sand; soil must be well drained.
Maintenance: Keep moist but not wet, barely moist in winter, use water that is room temperature, it is best to let water stand overnight before using; fertilize every two weeks with a houseplant fertilizer at one-half recommended rate, reduce fertilization in winter; ideal temperatures are 50
oF to 55oF (10oC to 13oC) at night and 65oF to 70oF (18oC to 21oC) during the day; repot anytime as necessary.

Situation: Bright light, 4000 to 8000 foot-candles (southern or western window), will tolerate 500 to 2000 foot-candles (northern or eastern window).

Outdoor Culture

Soil Requirements: Slightly acid to neutral, good garden loam rich in organic matter such as leaf mold or compost with liberal amounts of coarse sand for good drainage.
Maintenance: Keep moist but not wet; fertilize every two weeks with a general fertilizer; plant out-of-doors after danger of frost has passed.
Situation: Sun or partial shade


Growing Impatiens Indoors During Winter October 2, 2009

Growing Impatiens Indoors During Winter


The really lovely thing about impatiens, is that they can make wonderful indoor flowers during the cold and often gloomy days of Winter.

Last year, I placed some on a plant tier in front of a south facing floor-ceiling length window in our breakfast area.

It was beautiful seeing these colorful, robust flowers all Winter long and it truely creates a different atmosphere in the home. A little touch of Summer bringing warmth and beauty for all to enjoy.

There are several tips that can help too:

(1.) Pick a good sunny location. I would prefer one that gets several hours of direct sunlight a day, but one that doesn’t “cook” the flowers. I use a south facing window, but any one that gets the sunlight should do.

(2.) Be sure to choose an appropriate sized pot. Remember, these will continue to grow, so it is important to allow for root growth.

(3.) I also prefer a potting soil that already has fertilizer in it and that has the ability to hold moisture.

(4.)I still however, once a week give them a little shot of Miracle Grow Bloom Booster. I love that stuff and it provides that little bit of extra nutrients for bright healthy flowers

(5.) Be careful not to over water. This can lead to collapse of the stems and leaves by rot in the root.

(6.) Also, impatiens root very easily and one thing you could do, especially if you have multiple colors and want them indoors is to snip off a longer stem and place them in water with either root stimulator or as I do a touch of bloom booster. i don’t know what it is with Bloom Booster, but I have even had marigolds root with it.

(7.) if you decide to put them in pots with other plants, be sure to companion plant with flowers of similar needs, growth habits and the like.

Other helpful general info:

Plant your impatiens in soil that is rich and has plenty of aeration for drainage. You can put a few small stones, bark or vermiculite in the soil to make sure it cannot pack down completely. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Generally, impatiens like soil that is more acidic (about 5.8 on the pH scale). If the soil is too basic, add a little sulfur or aluminum sulfate. If the soil is too acidic, add a little calcium carbonate.

Keep the impatiens watered, but don’t overdo it. Impatiens like more water than some other species, but they don’t tolerate soil that is waterlogged. Watering every three to four weeks should be enough if the soil is kept moist. If the water sits on top of the soil, then it is too dry and won’t absorb water well. If the water runs straight out the pot, then the soil is either waterlogged or the plant has become root-bound. You can spritz the soil with a spray bottle between regular waterings to keep the soil from becoming too dry.

Use liquid fertilizer once a month. Impatiens like soil that is rich in nutrients, but plants grown indoors can lack what they need because they are confined in pots that are not exposed to natural means of soil rejuvenation. Wait until the tips of the roots reach the edge of the pot to use fertilizer; this indicates that the plant is large enough to require more from the soil than it may be able to absorb.

Monitor the temperature in your home. At night, don’t let the temperature dip below 68 degrees. During the day, don’t let the temperature rise above 75 degrees.

Cuttings and Number of Plants Per Pot
Take cuttings from your impatiens when the plant starts to become unruly. This allows you to keep the plant well-shaped and to encourage new growth. The cuttings then can be used to propagate new plants. Aim for only one or two plants per 5-inch pot.




Filed under: Annuals,Flower gardening,Impatiens — patoconnor @ 10:49 pm


Scientific Name: Impatiens × hybrida (I. Hawkeri)

Common Name: New Guinea Impatiens

Family: Balsaminaceae

Dr. J. Raymond Kessler, Jr.

Auburn University


New Guinea Impatiens have only recently become popular bedding plants since their introduction to the U.S. in 1972. Most are grown in hanging baskets or as potted plants for transplanting into the landscape or as container plants for the patio or window boxes. The majority of cultivars are currently propagated vegetatively, although seed-propagated cultivars have recently come to the market (Spectra F1 hybrids).


The origin of New Guinea Impatiens started with a joint plant collecting expedition by Longwood Gardens and the USDA in 1970. Several plants were brought back form New Guinea and ordinally given separate species names. However, cytogenetic work has shown that they belong to one species (Impatiens hawkeri) but a lot of variation exists within the species. Crosses with additional species form Java and the Celebes islands has lead to the plants in production today.

The first commercial series was called the Circus series, released in 1972. Since that time numerous series comprised of a hundred cultivars have been released. Most cultivars are patented, so do not take cuttings unless your a licensed propagator. Recent breeding have concentrated on shorter plants, shorted production times, heat and water stress tolerance, and variation in flower and foliage size and color.


Growers may start a New Guinea Impatiens crop in three ways: 1) Order cutting to grow stock plants from which cutting are taken for production, 3) Order unrooted cuttings to root in-house for production, or 3) Order rooted cuttings which are transplanted to the finishing container. It is essential to order the highest quality propagation material that is certified free of disease. New Guinea Impatiens can suffer from tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) carried in the tissues.

Everything associated with propagation should be sanitized; sterile medium, clear (new) flats, sterile bench tops, and sterilize anything that comes in contact with the cuttings. Many different kinds of propagation media have been used; peat-lite media, vermiculite, perlite, rockwool, but all must be well-drained and not remain saturated. Propagation medium pH should be 5.5 to 6.5 with a low soluble salts (<0.75 mmhos/cm). Light levels in propagation should be 2000 New Guinea Impatiens cuttings should be ¾- to 1-inch long, with no more than 2 fully expanded leaves and 3-4 immature leaves, with -½” stem base to stick into the propagation medium. Propagation temperature are 70-72F night and 75F days, preferably provided as bottom-heat to warm the propagation medium. Mist intervals range from every 15 min. on sunny days to 2 hours on cloudy days for 5 seconds depending on the environmental conditions. Mist at night is usually not required and may be harmful. Propagation timing:

5 to 7 days Callus forms at base of cutting, high mist, temperature during this period.

10 to 12 days Roots about ¼”, reduce mist to about every ½ hour.

3 to 4 weeks Roots adequately developed for transplanting.

Transplant as soon as the cuttings are well rooted to prevent stretching. Fertilizer or growth retardants are not needed in propagation.


Transplanting: The backbone of New Guinea Impatiens production for most growers is the 4″ or 4½” pot with one rooted cutting per pot, though 5″ and 6″ pots may be produced depending on market demand. Five inch pots may have 1 or 2 cuttings and 6″ pots 1 to 3 cuttings per pot depending on cutting costs verses production timing. New Guinea Impatiens may also be grown in Jumbo finishing flats or 3-3½” pots for the mass market. Hanging baskets of New Guinea Impatiens are also popular with 1 to 3 cuttings per 8″ basket, 1 to 4 cuttings per 10″ basket, or 3 to 5 cuttings per 12″ plastic basket.

Medium: Use a peat-lite medium composed of peat and perlite, vermiculite, bark, or rockwool. The medium should be well-drained and aerated, but with slightly more water holding capacity than for some crops. Impatiens as a rule require a lot of water and should never wilt, extra water holding capacity facilitates this goal. Dolomitic lime to a pH of 5.8 to 6.2, superphosphate (4.5 lbs./yd3) , and micronutrients (½-¾ recommended rate) are added to the medium at mixing. Medium pH should not drop below 5.8, especially if manganese and iron concentrations are above 3.0-5.0 ppm because New Guinea Impatiens are sensitive to micronutrient toxicity.

Fertilization: Little or no fertilization is required until the roots of plants in the final container reach the pot margins. Fertilizer on a CLF program at 100-150 ppm nitrogen with the nitrogen level about equal to potassium (150-0-150 to 200-0-200) with no phosphate if superphosphate was added during mixing. If superphosphate was not added to the medium, liquid feed with 50 to 75 ppm P. If fertilizer is not applied at every watering, use 300 to 350 ppm N, 100 ppm P, and 300 to 350 K every third watering. Be careful using a fertilizer containing micronutrients if they were added during media mixing. Micronutrient toxicity cause necrosis of lower leaves or leaf margins, shoot die-back, or distorted, stunted upper leaves. Magnesium deficiency is common and may be corrected using 8 oz. Magnesium sulfate / 100 gal. once per month.

Temperature: Night temperatures should be 68F and day temperatures 75F for the first 2 to 3 weeks. The night temperature can then be dropped to 65F. Night temperatures above 72F can delay flowering. New Guinea Impatiens respond to DIF. Stem lengths increase as the day temperature increase relative to the night temperature (positive DIF).

Photoperiod: No significant response found.

Light: New Guinea Impatiens tolerate higher light intensities than bedding Impatiens. As much light as possible should be provided in the winter and spring. Provide a minimum of 3000-4000 foot-candles during the middle of the day. Low light reduces varigation in the foliage and slows flowering. Apply shading if light exceeds 6000 foot-candles.

Pinching: Newer cultivars are self-branching and require no pinching. Pinching will delay bloom by two to three weeks.

Growth Retardants: Generally not required or used on New Guinea Impatiens. Cycocel, B-Nine, and A-Rest show minimal effect, however, Bonzi is effective at 5 to 30 ppm.

Supplemental Light and Carbon Dioxide: Supplemental light from HID lamps benefits growth at 400 after rooting in propagation. Supplemental carbon dioxide also improves growth at 1000-1500 ppm. A 2-3F increase in day temperature should be used with supplemental CO2.

Spacing: Spacing too close will result in stretching. Newely potted cutting can be maintained pot-to-pot until the canopies begin to close.

Common Problems      

Physiological: Low light and low fertility cause mottled foliage. Water stress causes leaf and flower bud abscision.

Pests: Spider mites, cyclamen mites, thrips, mealybugs, and aphids all infest New Guinea Impatiens

Diseases: Pythium, Phytophthora, and all cause root rots. Rhizoctonia causes stem rots. Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) can be very serious and the virus is carried by Thrips. Botrytis can be a problem under cool, humid conditions.


Varies with geographic location, container size, cultivar, climate, and number of cuttings per container, e.g. 4″ pots can be finished in 8-10 weeks in warmer times of the year while requiring 10-16 weeks in low-light, cooler times of the year.

Auburn EDU


Impatiens Photo Gallery

Impatiens Photo Gallery

Most of the photos are taken from the website Proven Winners simply because of the absolutely unbelievable amount of the varieties they carry.  Do visit their website, it’s amazing.

Infinity Series


Scarlet             Orange Frost    Pink Frost       Infinity Blushing

Jelly Bean Series


Cherry Rose          Orange                Rose                     Red

Little Lizzy Series


Cherry Butterfly            Orange                          Orchid Butterfly


White                            Violet Star                    Pink


Salmon                           Rose                            Violet


Orange Nova                 Cherry                           Red

Double Up Series


Red Bi-Color                    Double Up Apple                Salmon


Violet Bi-Color                  Peach                              Peach  Frost          


Passion                             Rose                                   Pink


Bridal Pink                       Violet                                    White

This is just a sampling of the beautiful and complete collection you will find at the Proven Winners gardening website.


Growing Impatiens in a Container

   Growing Impatiens in a Container    

For those with a limited growing area, or other who have a patio they would like to add some color and beauty too, impatiens are an excellent container flower.

Tips for Container Gardening              

When putting planting a container garden, real soil is a no-no.

Instead, choose a soil-less mix – a lightweight combination of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite – sold as patio or container mix.

The potting mix should be fluffy and just moist for planting.

Place a piece of broken pottery or small stone over drainage hole to prevent mix from leaking out.


  • Fill container three quarters
    with potting mix, keeping it fluffy (don’t press down too hard). Remove plants from pots, gently teasing roots apart if necessary, and place inside container.


  • Container garden plants are asked to produce masses of flowers in a tight space, so be sure to fertilize. The easy way is to mix slow-release fertilizer pellets into the top couple of inches of potting soil. (Follow package directions for amount.) The fertilizer beads are covered with a coating that gradually releases nutrients all season long.


  • Fill gaps between container garden plants with potting mix, firming down gently. Avoid packing pots right up to the rim – leave about an inch free as a reservoir for easier watering.


  • To finish, water. Throughout the season, check your container garden pots daily and water until water comes out through the drainage hole.

 The best pots for your container garden        


Choose good sized container so your plantings can be more interesting, and for easier maintenance. Bigger containers don’t dry out so quickly.


  • Terra cotta: A time-honored classic material that’s porous and allows oxygen to get to roots. However terra cotta is heavy and easily chipped or broken and generally not frost-proof, so store indoors in winter. The best terra cotta comes from Italy.


  • Glazed ceramic: This material has the same advantages and disadvantages as terra cotta. Available in many attractive colors. Not frost-proof, needs indoor storage for winter


  • Plastic and molded polyethylene (fake terra cotta or stone): Light, easy to move, polyethylene looks like real thing. It doesn’t chip or break and is frost-proof. Not porous like terra cotta, so good drainage is essential. Raise pot on blocks so drain holes not obstructed. Go for quality as cheap plastic pots degrade quickly in UV rays


  • Wooden barrels & window boxes: Attractive, readily available; can be built to sizes and shapes that suit the location. Large-sized containers heavy to move. Deteriorates quickly unless protected from moisture, so line interior with plastic sheeting




Contain Yourself

By Diana Lawrence
Extension Master
University of Vermont

The idea of container gardening never occurred to me until I purchased my first home. I ran out to the local garden center and did what everyone else did. I bought a clay pot, put some soil in it, and stuck in a “spike,” some vinca vine, and a few impatiens. .

I threw some water on it once every few days and felt like a homeowner. Then at the end of the season, I dumped everything out and left the clay pot outside. Of course, it crumbled in the freeze-thaw cycle of winter. Then we moved to Vermont. That’s where I got serious about container gardening .

What’s the appeal of going potted? Let me count the ways. .

First off, container gardening allows you to garden in a small area with or without earth. You may have a nice big deck, a yawning porch, or a tiny apartment balcony. Whatever space you’re faced with, no matter if it’s shady or sunny, there’s room for a pot or two (or ten). Trees, shrubs, flowers, bulbs, ornamental grasses, herbs, vegetables–if it grows, you can grow it in a pot .

Gardening in containers also offers instant gratification, and let’s face it, what gardener hasn’t picked up a flat of gorgeous little annuals because they were in full bloom, full size, and just waiting to perk up that boring bit of the bed? You buy the plants, you put them in the pot, and they look beautiful right away and keep getting better .

Pots also enable experimentation. You can try out new plants, annual or perennial, and see if you like how they look in your backyard. You can move pots around to add color or interest to areas that need it, or foliage to a part of the garden that looks bare. .

Think that gorgeous ‘Karl Forester’ feather reed grass might look great in the corner of your sunny garden? Put it in a pot and see. If it still makes you sigh at the end of the season, just take it out and plant it there .

The other element of container gardening that I find inviting is the creativity it inspires. I don’t stop at annuals. I combine perennials and annuals, plants that are all silver, plants that are all foliage and offer no flowers, the same plant in different colors, or plants with wonderful fragrance. Some years I’ll take a flower and put some of it in every pot I have. Other years I’ll make every container a “specimen.” I also use fall-blooming plants to keep the color going through the first frost. .

And although I always stick to pots, you can plant your combinations in any kind of container, as long as it drains well and won’t fall apart when it’s wet. At a local nursery I frequent, someone with a low boredom threshold has potted up old golf bags, suitcases, handbags, boots, and baby prams–even the seat of a chair .

When I put up a pot, I use potting soil, which drains easily (I have reused potting soil several years in a row, since it is a growing medium, and not a major source of nutrients). I mix the bottom half of the soil with polymer crystals, which help retain water, and slow-release fertilizer capsules. I don’t bother putting either one of these elements near the surface of the soil, since it’s the roots that need the food and water. A friend of mine showed me how to rip up a plastic plant six-pack and place the sections upside down at the bottom of the pot to prevent the mix from running out and clogging the drainage hole, and this works like a charm .

I sometimes buy my plants with a plan in mind, but most often I just head for the greenhouse and play around with combinations of plants when I get there. It can be frustrating (and limiting) to hunt for a specific plant and not be able to find it. Remember, when it comes to pots, the more plants the merrier. .

Unlike perennials in the garden, you don’t start out with small plants and wait for growth over several seasons. In my container gardens, it’s standing room only. Look for plants with striking foliage, cascading growth habits, and unusual textures. Flowers fade, but a great looking artemesia holds its own all summer .

I choose large containers because they need less frequent watering, and because I think a lot of small pots can look cluttered. I also like to use large perennials and ornamental grasses (I put these into the garden in the fall), and they don’t fit in smaller pots. Whatever size you choose, remember that container gardens are hardly maintenance free. .

They dry out quickly in warm weather and should be watered until the water runs out the bottom of the pot. You should also fertilize your containers once a week all summer long (this includes hanging baskets). Now, aside from all these wonderful elements, here comes the best part about container gardening: no weeding!

Extension Master Gardener Diana Lawrence lives and garden is Grafton, Vermont .

Backyard Gardner               







When Can I Plant Impatiens?

    When Can I Plant Impatiens  

The central rule of thumb is to plant after the last day of expected frost in your area.  Remember, impatiens are frost sensitive.  A few days too early can mean the difference between a beautiful flower garden….and a disaster. 

Planting Zone Map

Learn what planting zone you live in:

Knowing your planting zone can be very useful when your are planning your garden and flower bed areas.

When you order plants online or through a catalog it is very useful for you to know what will have the best success in your zone. 

Most plants are marked with a zone number. Use this map to know what plants will do best in your zone.


Using the Zone Map is really very simple. Find your geographic location on the map. Observe the corresponding color to that location. Look at the map key. That number designates the zone in which you live. 

You should select products that can survive in your zone. Simply read the item description and you will find a either a zone number or a range of zones. The lower of the the two zone numbers tells you the lowest recommended zone in which that plant can survive. Sometimes, an item will thriveoutside that zone area. Remember this is only a guide.

For more information visit:

Indicator Plant Examples Listed by Zone

Plant Hardiness Zones, Details

From: Plant Power

NOTE: The dates below are for the Northern Hemisphere
(Adjust appropriately for Southern Hemisphere)
Zone 1
Average dates Last Frost = 1 Jun / 30 Jun
Average dates First Frost = 1 Jul / 31 Jul Note: Vulnerable to frost 365 days per year

Zone 2
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Aug / 31 Aug

Zone 3
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 4
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 30 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 5
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 6
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Average dates Last Frost= 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 8
Average dates Last Frost = 28 Feb / 30 Mar
Average dates First Frost = 30 Oct / 30 Nov

Zone 9
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan / 28 Feb
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec


Zone 10
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan or before
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec

Zone 11
Free of Frost throughout the year.

Best of the Home


Growing Impatiens From Seed

     Growing Impatiens From Seed   

Growing impatiens from seed is a good way to save money if you like to plant flats and flats of these popular annuals.

The ideal time to start the seeds is eight to 10 weeks before the last frost in your area.

Fill seed flats with a sterile seed-starting mix that you have moistened. It should be damp but not wet.

Impatiens seeds are very tiny, so scatter them over the surface and press down lightly. If you’ve used flats from a seed-starting kit, just cover them with the plastic cover that came with this.

If you’re planting in containers that you are reusing, be sure they are sterile (wash them in water with detergent and a little bleach), and cover them with plastic wrap after sowing, or put the entire flat into a clear plastic bag.

Impatiens from seed – light and temperature

Place your flats under grow lights or near a window where they get bright indirect light. The soil temperature should be about 70 to 75º F (21 to 24º C).

Your impatiens seeds should sprout within seven days to two weeks, although it can sometime take a little longer if temperatures are cooler.

Remove the plastic cover or plastic wrap as soon as the seedlings germinate. Impatiens seedlings are very susceptible to a fungal disease called damping off, so be very careful not to over water them. Bottom watering is best.

Once your seedlings have several new leaves, transplant them into flats in cell pack containers filled with growing mixture. Transplant one plant per cell. Fertilize regularly with a balanced house plant fertilizer.

Impatiens from seed – ready for the garden


Before transplanting your impatiens outdoors, be sure to harden them off. (For more information on this, click here.)

Wait until the danger of frost is past before planting your impatiens in the garden. When temperatures are safely above 50º F (10º C), impatiens will thrive, and they will continue to bloom profusely until frost.

Seed-starting made easy: How to care for sprouted seedlings

As soon as you notice germination and your seedlings beginning to grow, remove the plastic dome or plastic bag over your planting trays.

Check daily for moisture, but avoid the temptation to over-water.

Soggy soil, excess warmth and poor air circulation can lead to damping off, a common fungal disease that can kill baby plants.

Prevention goes a long way, and you can use a fungicide called No Damp to help combat this.

The right growing conditions: temperature and light

Most young plants grow best at day-time temperatures between 70 to 75ºF (21º to 24ºC) and night-time temperatures between 55 to 65ºF (13º to 18ºC).

For healthy, bushy growth, seedlings need plenty of light, and they’re more likely to get it under fluorescent lights than on a windowsill.

You don’t have to use expensive grow lights:
ordinary cool-white 40-watt fluorescent tubes do nicely, as the young plants will only need to grow under them for a few weeks.

Shop lights that hang from chains on a light stand are ideal. The chains allow you to adjust the lights to keep them right above the seedlings.

Keep plants as close to your lights as possible: This helps prevent plants from growing weak, spindly stems from stretching too. Set your lights on an automatic timer set to be on for 18 hours and off for six hours.

When to start giving fertilizer: When seedlings have two sets of true leaves (the first leaves are called cotyledons or seed leaves), start fertilizing once a week with half-strength liquid plant starter or fish emulsion fertilizer.

Tranplanting: If necessary, transplant seedlings into their final pot once they have their second set of leaves. Always handle young plants by the leaves, as the roots and stems are very tender.

How to get seedlings ready for the “real world”

As planting-out time in the flower garden nears, coddled plants raised indoors need to be toughened up or “hardened off.”

  • To do this, set your plants outside in a shady, sheltered spot for at least a week or two before transplanting into the garden.


  • Give your plants half a day outdoors at first, and gradually leave them out longer, slowly moving them into sunnier and windier areas to get them used to life in the real world.


  • Once they’re outside for good, protect them by covering them on cooler nightswith a sheet or putting them into a closed cold frame.


  • Cool-season annuals such as pansies and snapdragons should be hardened off several weeks before tender, heat-loving ones such as impatiens or tomatoes.

Flower Gardening Made Easy

These varieties are from: Proven Winners Seeds