Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seed Sowing /Dragon Wing Begonias

This information is for my journal to keep a record of what techniques I used to start seeds. I am not an expert on seed starting but learn a little more each year from trial and error.

Seed/Supplier- Begonia dragon wing pink pelleted sized, Park Seed
Year of seed-packaged for 2014.
Date started- December 28, 2013
Seed Started In- Commercial seed starting coir discs 16 self watering units
Sown on top of mix
Covered with plastic that came with unit as per instructions
Heat/No Heat-Placed on heat mat
Light-Shop lights turned on over night

Seed/Supplier- Big red with green leaf begonia pelleted seeds, Swallowtail Garden Seeds
Year of Seed- packaged for 2013
Date started- December 28, 2013
Seed Started In- Commercial seed starting coir discs/ sown in same tray as pink dragon wing, some 2 per cell
Sown- on top of mix/did not press into mix
Covered with plastic that came with unit as per instructions
Heat/No Heat- Placed on heat mat
Light- Shop lights turned on over night

What do I do before I sow a seed? I try to refer to educational gardening web sites to read what is recommended to sow a particular seed. Some can be very technical and may frighten gardeners from trying to start certain seeds. Last Fall I read that vinca was difficult to start from seed and needed requirements that only experts could provide. Bad advice. What I did find is that they grow slowly but if started early they are ready to plant out after the last frost and may start blooming indoors. 

Seeds can be so inexpensive I don't mind trying what may be recommended as difficult to start. I've never layered or grafted anything or worked under sterile conditions. This might prove challenging. Haven't been to school for botany but I will read to get more information and decide if I should try it or not. I also look at other bloggers who start seeds and review their recommendations and see what works for them. Finally I read the information provided on the seed pack. Some seed packs provide little information and may leave out major instructions that can make the difference in a seed germinating and reaching adulthood or not germinating at all.

Some information on the begonia seed packs include, pressing the seed into the soil. I found this information conflicting because one package said to press the seed into the soil and the other one said to sow in shallow rows. I also read from a blogger who's blog is entirely about begonias that seeds should be sown on top of the soil and not pressed in because they require light to germinate.  What do you believe? What do you do? I have seeds for a yellow cascading begonia and another one named begonia Shanzi. I will see if these germinate first.

Germination temperature is recommended  on the packages between 75-80 degrees and that bottom heat may improve germination. One package stated that it takes 14-30 days and the other 14-60 days. This may be a problem since I sowed both types of seeds into the same tray. Maybe not a smart idea. I also don't think I need the shop lights yet because they will get light during day time hours but I will see. This is my first year growing begonias. Dragon wing begonias are pricey in the store. They create such a lavish display and I would love to grow my own. Areas where I plan to plant them include the shaded area in the yard, for the planter outside on my step, and one window box which is in the shade. It would also be nice to keep some as house plants. 

The pansies I planted 2 weeks ago have not germinated. They were sitting on my unheated sun porch. I took them inside when I saw that they did not germinate in 2 weeks. It may actually be too cold for them. Waiting patiently for germination.

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