Petunias are very beautiful and unpretentious flowers, which are gaining more and more popularity every year, thanks to the appearance of all the new varied varieties and varieties. Experienced growers seek to further diversify their collection. And the newcomers really want to grow some sort of one that has particularly impressed them, a bag of seeds of which they have acquired in a rush of inspiration. And having come home, have thoughtful whether it is real? After all, petunias, despite their unpretentiousness in adulthood, are quite capricious at the seedling stage. And their shoots look especially unusual.
They are really able to scare any novice grower, if he still has not had to deal with small seeds. It seems absolutely incredible that the luxurious flowering plants of petunia can ever grow out of these tiny strings. Nevertheless, you should not be afraid. It is necessary only to know in more detail what the seedlings of petunia need in the first place, and what are the features of petunia care after emergence.
Basic Petunia Requirements
There are several conditions, without which it is practically impossible to grow good seedlings of petunias.
Light and temperature
The first and foremost thing that is vital to seedlings of petunias is light. Light still needs its seeds to germinate. Without light, in a dark place, they either will not germinate at all, or will germinate with a delay and very unfriendly.
But after germination, when only thin little white loops appeared from the ground, the seedlings of petunia need to be transferred to the brightest light in the house. It is because of a lack of light that petunia seedlings, planted in winter, in January or February, are dying. They are completely unhappy with the short light days that are observed at this time of year.
And even additional lighting will suit them not all - its level should be at least 25,000 Lux, and even better so that it reaches 50,000 Lux. And for optimal development of petunia seedlings in the first weeks of life, it is desirable that this lighting be turned on around the clock. If it is not possible to guarantee the seedlings such lighting, then it is necessary either to postpone sowing until better times, or to lower the temperature.
But oddly enough, it is this technique helps the plants best. If during the germination of petunia seeds the temperature was kept at + 22 ° C- + 25 ° C constantly, then as soon as the seedlings have risen, it is advisable to lower the temperature by a few degrees, at least at night. That is, it is optimal that during the day it would be at + 20 ° С, and at night it would fall to about + 16 ° С- + 18 ° С.Important! About to the day when the seedlings of petunia will be one month old, the air temperature should not fall below + 15 ° + 16 °. Otherwise, the seedlings may die.
In general, it is best that the lighting be maximal and the temperature difference between day and night is slightly felt. It is in such conditions that the petunia seedlings will feel best, and grow strong and squat. Since the abundance of light favorably affects the aboveground part of plants. While the difference in temperature allows the roots of petunia to actively develop.
Often, for beginning flower growers, petunia shoots look more like thin, stretched threads than stocky bushes. This is due to the maintenance of seedlings at elevated temperatures and at the same time insufficient lighting. If it is not at all possible to lower the temperature of the contents a little, the only way out is to provide the seedlings with a lot of light. Light still for petunias comes first.
Petunia is usually sown either in small trays with lids, or in peat tablets, which are placed in containers covered with lids. That is, in any case, petunia shoots appear in such kind of mini-greenhouses, where they are, of course, nice and cozy.
The necessary moisture in such containers is maintained by itself. But after emergence of shoots, it is desirable to slightly open the lids of such containers. First, for 5-10 minutes, then daily increasing the time of "hardening", so that after about 10-15 days after germination, you can remove the cover completely. After the petunia seedlings are one week old, and the very first so-called cotyledon leaves will unfold well, the cover can be removed, for example, at night. Thus, it is possible to arrange the smallest decrease in temperature at night, which is so necessary for the seedlings of petunias for good root development.
As long as the lid is predominantly located on the seedling container, watering is practically not required. In general, with irrigation at the initial stage of growing seedlings of petunias, you must also be very careful. It is better to underfill than pour. And you need to water, of course, not in the usual way, but using a pipette, a syringe or a method that the florist in this video material tells about:
It will be better if the land in which the seedlings of petunia grows will be somewhat dried. Because the roots develop better in loose soil than in waterlogged. Of course, we should not allow plants to wither. But it so happens that you could overdo it a little, caring for seedlings, and over-moistened petunia seedlings. If at the same time you noticed that the seedlings began to thin and become glassy (an early sign of a black leg), then you can try pouring it onto the roots of dry, calcined sand or small vermiculite. They very quickly absorb moisture and most sprouts are likely to be saved.
After removing the cover and before the blooming of the first and even second true leaves, the seedlings of petunia need to be monitored for humidity every day. Neither wilting nor overflowing of plants should be allowed. It is even easier to add a hydrogel with vermiculite to it at the stage of preparing the soil mixture. Then the soil will not be able to dry so quickly, and will always contain a certain amount of moisture. This will allow beginners to not worry so much about the condition of the seedlings.Attention! The period of development of petunia seedlings from germination to the opening of the first true leaves is the most difficult and responsible. Therefore, if you pass it, then everything will be easier.
Watch another video that describes exactly this period:
The first months of the seedlings life
The hardest thing is over, but relaxing is not recommended. At the age of two weeks, seedlings of petunias begin to appear the first true leaves. From this point on, the growth and development of petunia will somewhat accelerate, although it is still not enough for those who grow these flowers for the first time. After all, at the first stage, the development of the above-ground part occurs not just slowly, but very slowly, and beginner growers need to be patient.
After the opening of the first true leaves of the seedlings of petunia, you can already dive if it was planted in common trays. For those who do it for the first time and are somewhat afraid of this procedure, we can give the following advice. Grow petunia seedlings without picking - in peat tablets or in separate small cups, or wait a little longer before the second pair of true leaves blooms. But if you sowed ordinary, undiluted seeds and planted them too thickly due to inexperience, then it is advisable to plant the seedlings quickly, otherwise they will not have enough room for growth soon.
The picking procedure itself is not as scary as it seems.
- Before starting it, it is advisable to moisten the container with the seedlings of petunias, especially if they have not done this for a long time.
- Prepared in advance or cassettes, or individual cups, covered with loose fertile soil. Vermiculite or hydrogel can also be added to it, especially if the containers are small and there is a possibility of rapid drying of the soil.
- The tanks are made indentations, about one centimeter.
- Then with a thin stick, toothpick or match, carefully dig one by one the germs, picking them up, and drag them one by one into the prepared indentations.
- You dig them in there by the same seed leaves and gently press them all over with earth with the help of the same stick.
- When all the germs are transferred and buried, they can be lightly poured from a syringe literally a few drops per plant.
Usually a week after this procedure, petunia sprouts root well and grow rapidly.
It is from this period that the time comes for regular dressings of petunias, without which it will never be able to bloom abundantly. For the first feedings, it is desirable to choose complex liquid organic fertilizer with a predominance of nitrogen. It is highly desirable that they also contain essential trace elements in chelated form, primarily iron and calcium.
For petunias, the following feeding scheme will be optimal: a suitable fertilizer is diluted 3-4 times compared with the manufacturer's instructions and the resulting solution is used regularly for watering seedlings instead of water. About once a week, instead of such a root feeding, petunias can be sprinkled on the sheet with the same solution. Similar foliar fertilizing can also be carried out using potassium humate or biohumus.
Approximately in the same period, the time comes for one more agrotechnical technique, which is often used when growing seedlings of petunia - its pinching. In previous years, this was a mandatory procedure, since most of the old varieties of petunias could not branch at all and grow into one stem if they were not pinched. The first pinching is usually done with a length of shoots from 7 to 10 cm, or after opening 2-3 pairs of true leaves. It consists in that nails or nail scissors gently pinch off a piece of the stem with a growth point above the topmost sheet. Sometimes they make it easier - they just break off the topmost sheet. In this photo, petunia bush to nip.
In the next photo, the same petunia bush immediately after pinching.
If you are dealing with the usual bush forms of petunia, then after this procedure, additional lateral shoots begin to appear actively from the axils of all leaves.
The second pinching is carried out as needed, when the length of the shoots reaches 10-15 cm. At the same time, only the tip of the shoot is removed to save the flower buds already laid on the bush. In the future, pinching petunia bushes is carried out after planting seedlings in the ground with strongly grown shoots, if you want to achieve a uniform fouling of the bush.
Appeared in recent years, many modern varieties of petunias do not need or almost do not need pinching. Already after the appearance of the second pair of leaves, it can be noted that lateral shoots from the main leaf sinuses begin to form and actively grow.Comment! In modern varieties of petunias, especially in ampelous and cascade forms, branching is already at the genetic level.
Therefore, most likely, nothing will be done with them. See how in the video below, an experienced florist demonstrates which petunia varieties need pinching and which not:
However, sometimes, if the seedlings of petunias do not grow in the most favorable conditions, that is, with no difference between day and night temperatures and in an overly warm place, then it may not start branching. In this case, pinching is obligatory, but observance of growing conditions is also desirable. Monthly seedlings of petunia are necessary so that in the daytime the temperature does not exceed + 18 ° С, and at night it can fall to + 10 ° С + 12 ° С.
If you manage to fulfill all the above requirements for growing seedlings, then a petunia will surely thank you with many beautiful flowers.