Annuals forum: Petunias from seed

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 9:36 AM CST
My most favorite annual that I seed every year is petunias. I'm not diligent with deadheading, so I stick with the free flowering trailing varieties like the Waves. Since I love the window baskets and containers overflowing with flowers, these work well for me. I usually buy pelleted seeds since petunia seeds are like dust particles.

I start them a the beginning of March, indoors, under lights. Stokes recommends Jiffy Mix. I recommend Premier Pro-mix BX professional soil mix

The Stokes Seeds Instructions are the BEST!

"CULTURE: We use pure Jiffy Mix in our seedling flats, rather than soil mixtures - for better germination. Fill the flat to within 1/4 in/6 mm. from the top and firm (especially the corners), so you don't get erosion when watering. Soak the seed flat thoroughly before sowing, with luke warm water (70ºF/21ºC) and a good fungicide to prevent disease. Mark the rows 2 in/5 cm apart, and 1/8 in/3 mm deep, 1/2 in/13 mm wide - with the edge of a label or a marking board. If you are sowing several different colors in the same flat - it might be a good idea to place a piece of cardboard across the flat on both sides of the row that you are sowing - to prevent mixtures. Broadcast the seed as thinly as possible in each row. Press the seed firmly into the surface. We do not usually cover with soil - as some colors are light responsive. If you believe in covering the seed - use coarse vermiculite - it retains moisture and allows enough light for proper germination. To conserve moisture, cover seed flats with plastic, glass or paper. For ideal germination soil temp. must be 80º F/27º C (air temp. of 86ºF/30º C days and 65º F/l 8ºC nights). The soil temp. must not drop below 70º F/21ºC. Use bottom heat if possible. Seed will germinate according to color (pinks, blues and whites first - reds last) in 5 - 1 0 days. Do not use cold water- it lowers the soil temp. and weakens tender seedlings. Uncover your seed bed at the first signs of germination, to prevent tall weak seedlings. Grow seedlings cool at 65?F/l8?C. Transplant 4 to 5 weeks after seeding, 1 - 1 1/2 in./3 - 4 cm. apart, and at the same depth as they were when in the seed flat. Grow at 55 - 60ºF/l 3 - 1 6 ºC. for stocky plants."

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[Last edited by Joannabanana - Feb 7, 2013 10:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 9:40 AM CST
Then I move them out to the greenhouse

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 9:42 AM CST
By mid April, they are really filling out

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 9:45 AM CST
By the beginning of May, they are quite large and ready to be moved outside into the garden and containers

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 9:48 AM CST
I love petunias

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Name: Chris
NW Pa, Near Lake Erie
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Ladygardener1
Feb 6, 2010 11:15 AM CST
Hi, Joanne, I made my way over here and marked this thread to watch. Nice pictures. I'll be starting my Avalanche petunias soon. My basement where I start my seeds is cool so they don't grow by leaps and bounds.
Love the last picture, so inviting.

Speaking of invite, I started my own cubit, stop by Gardening near the Great Lakes, it's small for now but will add more as I go along.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
Feb 6, 2010 12:29 PM CST
I am feeling SO envious right now! You have your own personal garden centre! My seed setup consists of a shelf unit infront of a south facing patio door.

The great this about Petunias though is they make great candidates for spring sowing outside in large ziplock bags or a coldframe. The 'Fantasy' series flowered in 2 months I think that way. Very fast.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 6, 2010 12:39 PM CST
Yes, the Fantasy do flower really early. I had them flower within 5 weeks of sowing under light a few years ago

Thumb of 2010-02-06/Joanne-43fb29
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Steven
Feb 10, 2010 10:19 PM CST
For me thats all the more reason to love them! 5 weeks is nothing in gardening time!
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 11, 2010 7:46 AM CST
Here's a tiered wave petunia tower I assembled with nursery pots, threaded ready rod, nuts, washers and some pieces of wood for stability.

Once the seedlings are ready for planting out, this is one of the 1st containers I plant up. This is a pic from mid July

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 11, 2010 7:48 AM CST
Here's the same planter in mid June

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 11, 2010 7:52 AM CST
Here's mid August btwn the door & window

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 11, 2010 7:54 AM CST
End of August still going strong

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Name: A.M.

angele
Feb 11, 2010 9:19 AM CST
wowee!!!zowee!! Thanks so much for sharing!
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Steven
Feb 11, 2010 12:01 PM CST
Joanne, do you plant in advance where everything is going to go in your garden? Or do you figure that out at planting time? I think I'm going to borrow you petunia tower idea this year! It's a terrific way to plant more annuals in less space!
Name: Chris
NW Pa, Near Lake Erie
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Ladygardener1
Feb 11, 2010 7:59 PM CST
Love your garden, I see you do a lot of container gardening. Very nice!

I have germination! Avalanche White petunias sowed 2/6/10.... germ.2/11/10 Thumbs up
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 11, 2010 8:38 PM CST
That's great and quick to germinate. I've never tried Avalanche White, only Grape. I do seed Ramblin' White though.

I do a lot of containers in my yard. I like moving them around too. I have a few neighbors that leave their empty containers by my gate to picked up fully planted. I also hold container planting workshops in my backyard. So all the plants that they buy pays for what I spend in seeding everything.

Last year, I had multiple groups for container planting workshops and DH had decided to replace the outside water tap. He shut the main valvle off and I had no water. He ran into a few snags and it took way longer with trips to the hardware store. So I hauled 5-gallon pails from the neighbors. Several hours into hauling water for each group Little Yahoo came outside and shows up with a full watering can of water. I asked if the water was on and she said "no, I got it from one of the rain barrels" I never even thought of the rain barrels and I even have a cast iron hand pump on one that fills a pail faster than a tap. Geez!
Name: Sherry
Ma-Me-O Beach, Alberta
westerosesherry
Feb 14, 2010 12:40 AM CST
Beautiful pictures Joanne. I keep my seeds from my petunias every year. I never know what color I am going to get when I plant them, but have had some beautiful colors. The seeds are very, very tiny, and are at the end of the flower. When the end of the flower drops off, take the pod, and put into a pill bottle container (do not close) and when dry, just pop the seed pod. You will get hundreds of seeds off of one plant. I have been doing this for years, but do buy seeds because after awhile the plants turn back to white. Of course, mine are not as nice and big as Joanne's!!!

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Name: Sherry
Ma-Me-O Beach, Alberta
westerosesherry
Feb 14, 2010 12:45 AM CST
Here are a few more pictures. I have hundreds of pictures - I take pictures each year of my flowers. If I did not start my flowers by seed first, I would never be able to have flowers. I live on an acreage and have 10 flower gardens, and about 25 hanging baskets. I received a green house from Santa about 3 years ago. Before that I started and kept everything in the house until they could go outside. I still start all my seeds in the basement, then move them upstairs and then out into the greenhouse when the weather warms up.

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 14, 2010 11:05 AM CST
Sherry,

Your pictures are awesome. I wish I had the space on an acreage. The variety of the petunia will determine the growth habit and size, but also I use Smart-Cote slow release fertilizer for Hanging Baskets in all my containers. In August, I also use Miracle Grow Ultra Bloom every few weeks. Everything usually looks great until the end of September or killing frost.

Thanks for sharing!

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