Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tips for Growing Impatiens from Seed

One of the world’s most popular annuals, Impatiens is also one of the most beautiful! This lissome plant blooms early in the spring season, adding both color and appeal to the surroundings. Impatiens plants are cold hardy and can be cultivated in both sunny and shaded sites. Interested in growing impatiens? It’s pretty simple, really, and very economical too! The following tips will help you grow impatiens from seed.

  • Fill the container with a sterile seed starting mix and moisten it by adding water. Scatter impatiens seeds and press them gently so that they’re only just below the surface. Use a plastic sheet or lid to cover the container.
  • Check the estimated last frost date for your region. You can start impatiens seeds 8-10 weeks from this date.
  • Refer the details provided on the seed package for the right growing temperature for the seeds. Artificial lighting apparatus is the easiest means of making sure the seeds get the desired warmth. In case you wish to use direct sunlight, place the container near a window. Make sure you turn the container at regular intervals in order to allow all the seeds to benefit the heat.
  •  Check the seeds every day. Also, make sure the mix stays moist at all times. Seed germination normally takes about 10-14 days. Those living in cooler regions might have to wait a little longer. 
  • Once the seedlings develop 2-3 pairs of leaves, you can transplant them to individual containers. Fertilize regularly, using a standard, well balanced fertilizer.
  • Hardening impatiens seedlings is an essential step in preparing the young plants for the outdoors. Start by placing the containers in a sheltered part of your garden for a couple of hours. Gradually increase the time they spend outdoors over a period of 7-10 days.
  • Transplant impatiens only after all threat of frosts is over. In the mean time, you can clear the planting site and add good quantities of organic substances to the soil. Water the plants before removing them from their individual containers. This will loosen the roots and allow for easy transplantation.
  • Leave a gap of 3-4 inches between adjacent plants and water thoroughly after planting.
 Irrigate your plants regularly, especially during the first couple of months after planting. Fertilize impatiens just before they bloom in spring. That, and a little care is all you need  for growing impatiens!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Growing Pansies in Containers

A joyous burst of color- that’s what Pansies bring to the scene! That’s also one of the major reasons behind the immense popularity of these winsome plants. Pansies offer an incredible range of flower color that’s invaluable in container gardening. Growing pansies in containers doesn’t take much effort or expertise. It does, however, call for the right knowledge and some planning. Take a look.

 If you’re looking to start pansy seeds indoors, it’s important to sow the seeds at the right time. You can either start in late winter, 7-10 weeks from planting in spring, or start seeds in late summer and plant them in the beginning of fall. The instructions on the seed packet are normally a reliable source of information regarding the right planting depth, spacing and temperature conditions. I sow the seeds shallow, with only a thin layer of soil to cover them. Water thoroughly and cover the container with a plastic lid. Place the container in a cool, dark place. Pansy seeds normally take 2-3 weeks for germination. Check the container at regular intervals and make sure the soil doesn’t dry up at any point. Once the seedlings develop 3-4 leaves, you can transplant them to individual containers.

It’s very important to get the new container all ready for the young plant. Mix equal quantities of organic compost and potting soil. Provide a couple of inches thick layer of loose gravel at the base of the container. The layer of gravel helps in drainage and thus, prevents water logging. Wet the mixture of compost and potting soil. I’d recommend you use distilled water for the task as it’s free from fluoride and other chemicals present in water from regular sources. Next, fill in the container with this mix, up to a couple of inches from the top.

Water the seedling before transplanting. This will loosen the soil and make it easier to remove them. Plant the seedling into the new container and pack the soil firmly around it’s base. A layer of organic mulch bodes well for the young plants and is therefore recommended. Place the container in a spot that offers full sun for at least 5-6 hours every day.

If you aren’t growing pansies, you’re missing out on a gardening experience that’s as exciting as any other. Short on space? Ha, grow pansies in containers!