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.
These varieties are from: Proven Winners Seeds