GROWING GERANIUMS FROM SEED
Geraniums have been a popular bedding plant for over a century now, and why not? They are tough, tolerant of drought and relatively disease and pest resistant.
While geraniums have been traditionally grown from cuttings, new seed-grown hybrids have been becoming increasingly popular. Why? Because they will often out perform the older geranium varieties. This is Because many of these new seed-grown hybrid geraniums possess excellent vigour and heat tolerance, superior disease resistance, and will flower their hearts out until the first frost of winter.
When can you sow geranium seed?
From sowing to flowering will take around 18-20 weeks, depending on the sowing date and other important factors such as light, temperature etc.
For earliest flowers sow from mid to late December onwards to produce flowers in late April, early May.
An early January sowing should produce flowers in mid-late May. An autumn sowing can also be made for overwintering.
How to sow geranium seed
Like many bedding plants, temperature is a key factor when it come to germination. It is essential that a steady warm soil temperature is maintained. If you can keep soil temperatures around 70-75F (21-24C) the seedlings should emerge in 3-21 days. Of course, in order to control the temperature that accurately you will probably need to invest in a heated propagator or if you are feeling flush - a heated greenhouse.
Lower growing temperatures are quite acceptable but the plants will take longer to develop. To get flowers in early July the temperature can be reduced to 65F (18C) after germination (or pricking out if applicable) and two months after sowing reduced again to 45F (7C). It is impossible to be entirely definite about this timing because varieties vary in their natural rate of maturity and light levels also play a significant part.
One important factor in successful germination of geraniums is constant moisture in the early stages. If the seed starts to germinate and the delicate young root comes in contact with dry compost it will probably not survive.
Once the plants have germinated the temperature can be reduced somewhat but the growing on temperature will influence the date of flowering.
Transplanting geranium seedlings
Always give the plants adequate space to give good air circulation and to ensure healthy growth. Ensure that there is a space between each plant and that leaves are not touching. (You should aim for three to four 4 inch pots per square foot or five to six 3 inch pots per square foot).
Fertiliser and watering
Geraniums need regular feeding whilst in growth, or small hard plants with yellowed leaves will result. Commence regular feeding with liquid fertiliser 3-4 weeks after transplanting. Likewise care should be taken with watering, they will suffer if kept over wet but too little water will slow down the growth and delay flowering.
Sowing geranium seeds in the autumn
Seed is sown in October, when ambient temperatures are still fairly high so fuel costs are reasonable, and then grown right through the winter and spring at 45F (7C). This system saves a little on fuel compared with January sowing but produces earlier flowering and better plants. Flowering time is more comparable with plants grown from January sowing but kept at higher temperatures.
Whichever method is chosen, regular feeding is necessary as is attention to disease control, especially on overwintered plants. Fumigation with a fungicide is preferable to spraying. Spring sown plants are best watered using a capillary system but autumn sown plants should be watered by hand to avoid over wet compost in the winter months when growth is slow. Of course, if you are overwintering young seed raised plants, you can utilise the warmth to keep fuchsias, regal pelargoniums and other tender perennials through the winter and so make the best of your insulation and fuel.
Growing tips for geraniums from seed
Thoroughly water geraniums when the soil surface is dry to the touch.
Fertilise weekly with a one-quarter strength houseplant fertiliser.
Harden off the plants outdoors for seven to ten days before planting into the garden.
Plant geraniums outdoors when the danger of frost has passed.
For information click onto:
Can You Over-Winter Citrus Outside?
Cold Hardy Citrus Varieties for Over-Wintering Outside
Detox you Body with Fresh Fruit
Growing Geraniums from Seed
Growing Orange Trees from Seed
How do you Harden off Seedlings?
How to Germinate and Grow Melon Plants from Seed
How to Germinate and Grow Okra from Seed Indoors
How to Germinate and Grow Watermelon Seed Indoors
How to Grow Agave from Seed
How to Grow Avocado from Seed
How to Grow Banana Trees from Seed
How to Grow Citrus from Seed
How to Grow Dahlias from Seed
How to Grow Lobelia from Seed?
How to Grow Eggplants from Seed
How to Grow From Seed
How to Grow Geraniums from Seeds
How to Grow a Lemon Tree from Seed
How to Grow Melon Plants from Seed Outdoors
How to Grow Palm Trees from Seed
How to Grow Pansies from Seed
How to Grow Petunias from Seed
How to Grow the Sago Palm from Seed
How to Grow Vegetables?
How to Grow Watermelon Plants from Seed Outdoors
How to Over-Winter Citrus Plants outside
The Banana Tree
The Lemon Tree
What is Agave?
Why haven't my Seeds Germinated?
Why is Fresh Fruit so Good for You?
Based on an article from http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1995/1-13-1995/geran.html and http://www.thompson-morgan.com/raising-f1-geraniums-from-seed
Photos are of http://shelburnemuseum.blogspot.com/2011/03/any-sign-of-spring.html and http://healthyhomegardening.com/Plant.php?pid=1070 and http://www.buzzle.com/articles/geranium-seeds.html and http://www.diy.ru/dom_i_uchastok/67_landshaftnyj_dizajn/plodovyij-sad-i- ogorod/parnik/tipyi-teplits-i-parnikov and http://balisha-neverenoughtime.blogspot.co.uk/2010_03_01_archive.html and http://northviewgarden.blogspot.co.uk/