If you like Geraniums, we’ve got some good news for you.
It’s that time of year when we need to consider starting geraniums from seed. A note of caution for first-timers: Geraniums are slow from seed, so they need to be started early (mid to late January is recommended). However, we are still planting the balance ours the first week in February. Expect them to take 7 – 14 days for the seeds to germinate.
1. To get started, make sure your grow cells are clean and have drainage holes. We generally use soap and water with a little bleach if we are using older containers (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). This will help avoid any fungal diseases or damping off problems to your seedlings.
2. Prior to sowing add moisture to a good quality commercial promix. An easy way is to use a large tub and mix water to the promix until it’s spongy but not soggy and let stand at least 3 hours to absorb moisture.
3. The grow cells are filled with the moist promix to about 1” from the top. Gently firm the soil with your thumb. Add 1 seed per cell and cover with more proxix so the depth of the seed is 1/4” from the surface. The cells can be watered from the bottom or you can mist the cell carefully not to disturb the seed. To water from the bottom, place water in a tray and set the cells inside the tray so the water is about ¼ way up the outside of cell. When the soil is wet, drain off balance of water and cover.
4. Another way to plant the seed is to fill the cell and gently firm the soil mixture with your thumb. Using a pencil, make a hole 1/4” deep and drop seed into hole. Gently cover the hole and once again either water from the bottom or mist the cell.
5. Geraniums need a warm location, around 75 degrees and cover with a clear plastic cover lid or you can use plastic wrap.
6. Remove the lid daily to check for moisture (do not let the promix dry out) and also this will allow the air to circulate. Make sure your seedlings have a good light source when they sprout.
7. The first set of leaves to appear are the seed leaves and when the seed leaves appear you can remove the cover.
The second set of leaves are true leaves and after the seedling has two sets of true leaves, let them grow on for approximately a week or two before planting up to a 4” pot.
8. When the second set of leaves appear, adjust the grow lights to a height of 6” above the tray. Keeping the lights close to the plants will prevent them from getting leggy.
Geraniums not only add colour to your garden but are great inter-planting trap crops that help deter egg laying cabbage moths from cabbage and other members of the brassica family. They also make a great ornamental border creating colour shape and texture to any garden.