Herbs Seed Starting - Knowledgebase Question

Marietta, Ge
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Question by martinejules
June 30, 2010
I'm having trouble growing lavender, parsley, and rosemary. The seeds never seem to take. However, I have no such issues with basil and thyme. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, I follow the package direction for seeding, yet nothing happens. Any suggestions?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
Start seeds of lavender by giving them a pre-chill prior to sowing. Mix seeds with moistened growing medium, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 4-6 weeks. At the end of the chill period sow seeds just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and cover trays or pots with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture. Seedlings will appear in 21-90 days when kept at 55F-65F. Remove plastic as soon as seeds sprout and place seedlings under a source of bright light. Rosemary seeds do not need a pre-chill treatment. Sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and barely press them in. Seeds will germinate in 18-21 days when kept at 55F.

Parsley seed naturally has a somewhat poor germination rate, but soaking it overnight in water so it begins to soften, discarding that soaking water, and then planting the seeds in damp fresh clean soilless potting mix at about 75 degrees should do the trick. (Your temperatures sound warm enough that a heat mat would not necessarily be needed, although soil temperature is usually about five degrees below room temperature. Parsley will germinate at temperatures between about 45 and 90 degrees, so that is not as critical an issue as it is for some types of seeds.) Germination takes about two weeks but may be erratic. It is also important to use fresh seed and to take care in storing it as parsley seed viability deteriorates relatively quickly even under the best conditions. Good luck with the next try!

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