The Q&A Archives: Germinating Impatiens

Question: I planted impatiens in a pot indoors and followed all of the directions, but after four weeks I am running out of patience. How do I get seeds to grow indoors?

Answer: Starting impatiens from seed can be a bit difficult because it is very sensitive to temperature, light and moisture. The seeds should be started at a minimum soil temperature of 70 degrees (soil temperature is always cooler than the room temperature) with a maximum of 86 degrees. The seed requires light to germinate so should be sown on the soil surface and not covered with soil. The seed requires constant moisture and must not be allowed to dry out. To do this, cover the pan with plastic wrap to maintain constant humidity, but if there is significant condensation on the plastic open it periodically to allow some evaporation -- the seeds will rot if they are too wet. Set the pan in a bright spot out of direct sun (direct sun can cause the enclosed pan to overheat and kill the seeds) and wait. It can easily take two weeks for the seed to germinate at 70 degrees. Finally, the seed is sensitive to extremes in storage temperatures, too, so there are may variables at work.

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