Flower seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Portland, Or
Question by millerhammon
June 30, 2010
I planted TONS of seeds this year for flowers, and NONE of them came up. I bought one of those flower mix packets into well-tilled soil, and nothing came of it. The weeds are growing, but not the flowers. What can I do to make them come up, or is it too late?? (BTW, most of my vegetable seeds came up (green beans, peas and lettuce especially) and are doing great.


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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I know that's disappointing. Since your vegetables came up, I'm going to assume that your soil is okay and there was no damping off disease or birds yanking up seedlings as soon as they appear (but before you see them!). Seeds contain an embryo capable of growing into a plant if all the requirements are met. For some seeds, this means total darkness and for others it means light is necessary for germination. Not all seeds have the same requirements. If the directions say sow on the surface of the soil, it means that particular seed needs light to germinate. If the directions give a depth to plant, that means that particular seed needs darkness to germinate. Planting too deep would inhibit germination. If they do not get the right circumstances, seeds will fail to germinate, or will be slow in germinating. Another possibility is that they start the germination process, but then it stops. The seeds are no longer viable once that happens. Soil temperature is another issue. Some seeds need warm soil, others cool soil. Some seeds will just stay in the soil until the right conditions exist and then germinate (just as they would do in nature). Some flower species are more difficult to start from seed than others or they need periods of cold or scarification. If you bought new seeds they should be viable, but if you had old seed packs, the viability drops over the years. I'm sorry I can't pinpoint an exact reason, because there are so many factors involved.

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