The Q&A Archives: Starting Snapdragon Seeds

Question: How can I start snapdragon seeds at home. I have no trouble with begonias, impatiens, or petunias which I start in APS trays. However, when I start snapdragon seeds, they get about 3/4" tall and then they just start to droop over and die off. I much prefer to start them at home so I can give the excess plants to my relatives or friends.

Answer: Sounds as though you're having no trouble germinating snapdragon seeds, butthat the seedlings are succumbing to a fungal disease called 'damping off'. To help your plants avoid this disease you need to start your seeds in sterile trays in sterilized seed-starting mix, monitor the moisture carefully, and be sure to supply needed light and lots of air circulation. Try germinating your seeds by sowing them on top of moistened seed starting mix and pressing them in with your hand. (Snaps need light to germinate.) They'll take 10-21 days to sprout at 65F -75F degrees. After sowing, cover the tray with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture, and place in a warm place. After most of the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic and place the tray under a source of light. Keep the light about 6 inches above the tops of the plants, and keep the light on for 14-16 hours a day. After the plants have developed two sets of true leaves they can be transplanted into individual pots filled with commercial potting soil. Don't allow the plants to become overcrowded, and don't keep the soil soggy wet. By providing adequate light, air circulation, and just the right amount of moisture, your snaps will grow sturdy and healthy stems.

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