The Q&A Archives: Streptocarpus From Seed

Question: I just purchased some streptocarpus seeds and would like to know how long it takes for them to bloom and also when is the best time to sow them?

Answer: Streptocarpus is an easy-to-grow flowering pot crop requiring similar conditions to a gloxinia or African violet. A member of the Gesneriaceae family, streptocarpus have deep green leaves which contrast with flower colors ranging from soft pastels to hot pinks and purples. They are adaptable to year-round growing, and under the proper conditions, they will flower almost continuously. This is a multi-use crop; it is ideal for a window sill with filtered, indirect light. They are also used as an annual, planting them outside in a shaded setting which gets light only early in the morning or very late in the afternoon.

Streptocarpus seed is very fine, 35,000 seeds per gram. Sow the seeds thinly on the surface of pre-moistened peat and place the rooting tray on a heated bench, 75 degrees F. Do not cover the seeds with peat; use glass or plastic to cover your rooting tray to keep it from drying out. Remove the covering as soon as the seeds start to germinate. Do not place the rooting trays in direct light. Three to four weeks after sowing, young seedlings can be "pricked" out of the seed tray and transplanted into cell packs. These young seedlings are characterized by one large single leaf, which is prominent throughout the life of the crop. Place these seedlings in a glass greenhouse at 65 to 70 degrees F until new growth is visible, then drop the temperature to 60 to 65 degrees F. Keep the young plants moist but not wet, and protect them from direct sunlight; shading is necessary to reduce the light intensity to 750 to 1000 foot-candles. These young plants are ready to transplant into their final pot size once the flower buds are visible.

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