How to properly plant/take care of Chinese Lanterns? - Knowledgebase Question

Fairview, Ne
Avatar for gilbertorbea
Question by gilbertorbea
March 7, 2010
I am a very new, young gardener who got his first packet of Chinese Lantern plants. I heard right now is the time to plant it indoors. How should I go about doing that?

Answer from NGA
March 7, 2010
Chinese lantern plants are relatively easy to grow from seeds. You can either sow the seeds directly outdoors after your last frost or you can start them indoors 4-6 weeks before your first frost (now) and transplant them outdoors when the weather warms. Indoors, you will need seeding pots or trays filled with moistened seed starting mix, some plastic wrap, and a source of light such as a bank of shop lights. These are the kinds of lights with two fluorescent bulbs, a hood and a couple of chains for raising and lowering the lights. Sow your Chinese lantern seeds in the moistened potting soil and cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of soil. After sowing cover the pots or trays with plastic wrap to keep the seeds moist. Remove the plastic every few days to allow fresh air in, but then replace it to keep the soil from drying out. Germination should take two to four weeks, depending upon room temperature. After most of the seeds have sprouted remove the plastic wrap and set the new little plants under your light source, keeping the light only one or two inches above the tops of the plants. Move the lights up as your plants grow. Be sure to water often enough to keep the soil from drying out but no so often that it stays soggy wet. Best wishes with your seed starting project!

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