Petunia is a very decorative and unpretentious flower. Many varieties allow you to grow it in pots or vases, and in flower beds, decorate alpine slides or rabatki. However, in the cultivation of this flower there is a very difficult stage - planting seeds for seedlings.
It often happens that we sow, grow, care for, but in the end do not get such beautiful flowers as on a bag of seeds. Why is this happening, and how to sow petunia correctly - this is the article about this.
How to plant a petunia
Before you think about how to grow petunia seedlings at home, you need to decide on the variety of this flower, buy seeds.
There are a great variety of varieties, among them there are terry and glossy flowers, absolutely any shades and size. Petunia varieties are divided into several groups:
- Multi-flowered petunia shrub grows in the form of a small (up to 35 cm) bush, completely covered with flowers of medium size (about 6 cm in diameter). These varieties are resistant to weather conditions.
- Spray varieties with large inflorescences (about 10-12 cm) are able to decorate the most exquisite flower garden, they look favorably on flower beds, in flowerpots or decorative boxes. It should be remembered that large flowers can easily suffer from strong wind or heavy rainfall. It is best to grow these varieties on the terraces or in the gazebos, where there is a shed and protection from the wind.
- Ampiel varieties are great for growing in hanging pots, but can be used as a planting plant. These petunias have long shoots, decorated with many small or medium-sized inflorescences.
- Dwarf variety can be used in various garden compositions, for example, in rock gardens. Bushes of this variety are compact and very decorative.
The growing season of petunia is about 12-14 weeks. In the climate of most of the country, this flower simply will not have time to bloom if it is sown directly in the ground.Tip! That is why you have to plant petunia on seedlings, and you need to start in early spring - around mid-March.
Petunia seeds are characterized by the fact that they have very small sizes - round grains resemble poppy seeds, only they are painted not black, but brown.
On sale you can find petunia seeds for seedlings of two types:
- ordinary, poured into paper bags;
- granulated, coated with a colored shell.
The cost of granulated seeds, of course, will be higher. But their advantage is that, thanks to the colored capsule, the size of each seed increases - it is more convenient to distribute them in the ground, since the seeds in the granules are larger and more visible.
Some gardeners point out one lack of granulated seeds of a plant - the shell is poorly soluble in water, flower seedlings have to be watered more abundantly than it needs. If the granule is not completely dissolved, the seedlings, in general, may not grow, or sprouts and petunia roots may be damaged.Important! The seeds of this flower have poor germination, so you need to sow petunia on seedlings using only fresh seed. It is best to buy seeds at the end of the year, then they will definitely be the freshest.
How to grow seedlings of petunias
First of all, it is necessary to determine the timing of sowing the seeds of culture for seedlings. Most varieties of this plant bloom after 2.5-3 months after the first shoots. On the basis of this, as well as taking into account the particular climate in a particular region, determine the date of sowing seeds for seedlings.
Attention! It should be borne in mind that the early planting of petunia seeds will require additional coverage of the seedlings, because in February and March sunlight is not enough for the normal development of flowers.
Another nuance - ampelous varieties have a longer growing season, so they need to be sown on seedlings before the others.
Selection of tanks and soil preparation for seedlings
Sowing petunia seeds at home is necessary in sufficiently deep containers - about 10 cm. These can be wooden, plastic or ceramic boxes, pots, containers, the main condition is that the container for seedlings is not metal, and that the container can be covered with film or glass for seed germination.
It is best to use plastic food transparent containers: first, most often they are equipped with a lid, and, secondly, in soft plastic, it is easy to make drainage holes with a simple awl or a thick needle.
The holes for the removal of excess water in the tank for seedlings should be necessary, as the plant does not like overmoistened soil.
For even better removal of excess moisture is recommended to use a drainage layer. This may be expanded clay or broken red brick. This material is placed on the bottom of the container for seedlings.
Land for seedling petunias must meet several parameters:
- have a neutral or weak acidity;
- be loose and well saturated with oxygen;
- have a light composition;
- not to be too nutritious (it is necessary for the formation of a strong root system);
- Do not trap moisture.
Of course, you can buy a special pochvosmes for seedlings in the flower shop, but it is also easy to prepare it yourself.
To do this, mix the turf ground, coconut substrate, humus, peat and sand. All components are well mixed. If the acidity of the soil is high, you can add wood ash or some lime.
The prepared earth is thoroughly crushed by hand, you can sift it through a sieve. Now the soil should be decontaminated. To this end, the substrate is placed in an oven or microwave for 30-60 minutes or poured over boiling water.
In the tank, washed with soapy water or potassium permanganate, lay the drainage layer, poured on top of the substrate. Thoroughly tamp the ground to prevent subsidence of small petunia seeds. Liberally watered the soil with warm water with the addition of manganese.
Attention! In order for the seeds of petunia to be able to germinate under the lid, the containers for the seedlings are filled with soil not to the top, but leaving 2 cm to the edge.
How to sow petunia into the soil
They sow small seeds of petunia in a few specific ways - there are several of them; each housewife chooses the most convenient method for herself:
- Regular (non-granulated) plant seeds should be mixed with dry, coarse sand. Now they take two toothpicks, moisten one of them with water and try to grab one seed. When the seed sticks to the toothpick, it is transferred to the right place, and the second toothpick is used to detach the seed.
- Another way involves the presence of snow on the site. White snow will be an excellent background for dark petunia seeds. The snow is laid out on the surface of the ground and the seeds are laid on it. When the snow cover melts, the seeds will reliably press against the ground and will be distributed at the right intervals.
- If you are using granulated seeds of petunia, it is most convenient to spread them with tweezers. Landing scheme - 3x3 cm.
- There are special cassettes for small seeds. When using such cassettes, one flower seed should be placed in each cell.
- If the seedlings of petunia are grown in peat tablets, they are pre-placed in a plastic pan and watered. When the pills swell, one petunia seed can be transferred to each of them.
- You can pre-germinate flower seeds. To do this, they spread on a moistened paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. The napkin should be periodically moistened so that it is not dry, and the bag is opened several times a day to air the seeds. After 3-5 days sprouts appear that can be carefully transferred to containers with soil. This method is especially good for granulated petunia seeds - the shell will gradually dissolve and the plant will not suffer.
After the seeds are sown, they need to be sprayed with water from a spray bottle. It is best to add a little manganese to the water for irrigation in the first few days to disinfect the sprouts.
It is not necessary to sprinkle the seeds of petunia with earth - they will take root very well and will sprout. In extreme cases, if there are doubts, you can sprinkle the seeds with a thin layer of loose sand or soil mixture for petunia.
Now the boxes are covered with lids, glasses or film and placed in a very warm and bright place, where the constant temperature is kept at 23-25 degrees. If there is a need, you should immediately use the illumination with a phytolamp or a simple fluorescent light.
It is very important to clean the condensate accumulated on the lid every day - drops can clog the seeds into the soil. Once a day, the film or glass is wiped with a cloth, thereby airing the seedlings.
Further care for petunia seedlings
If the petunia is planted correctly, the first shoots should appear in five days. Hence, the most difficult thing behind is that the seeds have germinated. Every day, you need to open the containers with seedlings, gradually increasing the time of ventilation. They do this until the plants discard the seed casings - then the seedlings are opened completely.
To strengthen the plants and promote their rooting, the containers are placed for several days in a cooler room with a temperature of about 18 degrees.
This is done to ensure that the seedlings of petunias do not go into growth, and all its forces were directed to the development of the root system.
It is necessary to water fragile shoots very carefully, using a spray. This should be done as needed - as waterlogging, and lack of moisture are detrimental to seedlings of petunias.
The first 1-1.5 months seedlings will grow very slowly, and this is normal, because the root mass of petunias is increasing.
In this period, additional lighting is especially important - lamps must be switched on from early morning until late at night, especially on cloudy and rainy days.Important! It is necessary to ensure that the lamps are not heated, otherwise the tender seedlings of flowers simply “burn down”.
The appearance of the first pair of these leaves suggests that it is time to swoop down the seedlings of petunias. This stage is very important, since a dive prevents excessive stretching of the stems and helps to strengthen the roots.
Sometimes petunia dive several times, with each subsequent transplant increasing the size of the containers for seedlings. After each picking, seedlings for several days are placed in a place protected from the sun, where the temperature is somewhat lower than that used by the petunia.
Now comes the phase of active growth of petunias. At this stage, the plants quickly grow green mass, there are additional leaves, twigs and stems. You can engage in the formation of a bush and remove unwanted shoots by pinching the central or lateral stems.
Very often, petunia blooms earlier than its seedlings are transferred to the ground. It is recommended to remove the buds, otherwise the plant will weaken and the bush will stop growing. To see the shade of petunias, you can leave one flower on each plant - this will help to arrange the flower bed correctly.
With further cultivation it is necessary to carry out regular feeding. They do this for the first time 10 days after a dive and repeat every 10 days before transferring the petunias to a permanent place.
Complex nitrogen-based fertilizers are used as feed, but the concentration of this substance should be moderate.
Approximately two weeks before transplanting seedlings of petunias to a permanent place, seedlings need to be hardened. For this, containers with plants are carried out on the street or on the balcony with open windows. Days for tempering choose warm, but avoid the wind and direct sunlight.
Everything, seedling of petunias is ready for disembarkation in an open ground!
How to plant a petunia on seedlings, whether this or that way of preparing seeds will be correct, gardeners have been arguing for more than a dozen years. There are many options for planting this flower: someone sows the seeds directly into the ground, and someone for two months hardens them in the refrigerator. Everyone has their own methods, but the result should be the same - beautiful and bright flowers in the flower beds, pleasing the owner before the first cold weather.
To better assimilate the information, you can watch a video on how to properly plant petunia on your site: