Sowing petunias for seedlings at home

Petunia is a popular plant among flower growers. It is not an easy task to grow it from seeds on your own. Seedlings can be bought at gardening stores, but with diligence you can grow beautiful flowers yourself.

Features of petunia plants

Petunias are a member of the Solanaceae family, with about 40 species. Its homeland is Argentina and Brazil. This herbaceous annual usually grows up to 25-30 cm in height, many varieties have drooping shoots, the length of which can reach up to 1 meter.

Petunia cultivars are the most beautiful and popular among garden flowers. The number of hybrids is increasing day by day thanks to breeders. Bright flowers are the main decoration of the plant, which bloom in early summer and bloom until cold weather.

 Bright flowers – the decoration of the plant[/ caption]Most of the petunias have funnel-shaped flowers that grow singly on peduncles with small leaves. Depending on the variety, they come in different sizes (from 10 to 100 cm), color and varying degrees of splendor. Petunia leaves are oval with smooth edges, with a slightly pointed tip.

In hanging baskets and in balcony boxes, ampelous varieties are used. In all other cases, preference is given to bush varieties due to good branching. The agrotechnics for growing all petunias is similar, mainly with seedlings.

Seed selection

Petunia grows, as a rule, as an annual, and there are some difficulties in growing seedlings. One of the difficulties is small seeds. To collect seeds, you need to leave on the plant a part of the dried flowers that bloomed among the first, and wait until the seed boxes form. They are collected and stored in a cool and dry place. Hybrid plants do not produce seeds.

Petunia seeds

It is recommended to use fresh grains, since it is low germination that is the main difficulty in growing such plants. There are many varieties of petunia, and it is better to purchase individual varieties rather than a mixture.

How to grow petunia seedlings from seeds

Sowing petunia seeds for seedlings depends on the climatic features of the area (14-15 weeks before planting in open ground). The culture does not tolerate cold well, so it is planted after the threat of spring frosts.

Sowing petunias for seedlings

Since the petunia is not afraid of transplantation, large containers are used for seedlings, the height of which should be about 10 cm. Small plastic and peat pots or cassettes are suitable for diving.

  Sowing petunias for seedlings

The bottom of the box is treated with a solution of potassium permanganate and washed with clean water. Drainage holes should be made in the container, a layer of fine expanded clay should be laid. Pour the prepared soil mixture on top.

soil for petunias

A slightly acidic or neutral soil mixture is suitable. It should be loose, rich in nutrients. You can buy a universal substrate in a specialized store, or prepare a mixture yourself from sand, garden soil and peat, which are taken in a 1: 1: 2 ratio. It is better to disinfect any soil before sowing seeds with a solution of fungicides or calcination.

Additional Information! In order for the seedlings to have enough light, they need to be sown no earlier than mid-March, because the day at this time is getting longer. Later in March, seedlings are not sown for seedlings, as their flowering will be very late. Petunias sown in March will bloom until June.

For successful seed germination, it is desirable to maintain a temperature of 20-23°C. Under favorable circumstances, petunia sprouts from 80 to 100%.

How to sow a petunia for seedlings

Fill the planting tray with soil, and scatter small seeds over the surface of the soil. On a layer of sand or snow, even the smallest seeds are clearly visible, it is easier to evenly distribute them over the surface. In addition, sowing in the snow provides additional stratification of seeds, as close as possible to natural conditions.

To spread the seeds evenly across the surface of the snow, you can use a toothpick to move the seeds. If there is no snow, petunia seeds are mixed with dry light sand. Petunia seeds germinate in the light, so they do not need to be covered with earth, they are only lightly pressed to the soil after sowing.

Before sowing petunia seeds in the ground, it is slightly moistened. Cover the container with a film or glass and put in a bright, warm place. Shelter is removed for a short time, starting from 20-25 minutes, and gradually increasing the time. The room temperature is maintained at about 22°C and slowly reduced to +16°C. The film or glass from the containers can be removed only after the appearance of the first leaflet.

petunia seedling care

Small petunias are very fragile, and sensitive to the slightest deviations in cultivation. The duration of daylight hours for young shoots is 11-12 hours. If the plants are provided with good lighting, this will accelerate their growth, as well as significantly bring the start of flowering closer.

So that the petunia sprouts do not stretch due to lack of light, they are illuminated at a distance of 20 cm with fluorescent lamps. Small shoots are prone to deformation. The containers should be turned towards the light source several times a day so that they grow evenly.

Proper watering is very important for seedlings, as petunias are one of the most sensitive plants.

 Proper watering

Until germination, it is recommended to maintain light soil moisture daily using light sprays. A mild fungicide (for example, a weak solution of potassium permanganate) can be added to the spray water.

Important! If the soil is too wet, this will lead to the appearance of fungal diseases, and drying out of the substrate can harm young plants. Water should be dripped directly under the root of the plant, while trying to ensure that the liquid does not fall on the surface of the leaves in any case.

Water for irrigation should be used only soft (should not contain chlorine). You can use both warm water and water at room temperature. A few minutes before watering, pour a little freshly squeezed lemon juice into a container of water.

After a week, shoots will appear, and they must be aired twice a day so that mold does not appear. Usually shoots appear evenly and in a short period of time. You should not expect seedlings for longer than 2 weeks, and you need to repeat the sowing. At the beginning, petunia seedlings develop very slowly, first of all they build up the root system.

Note! Excess moisture, lack of comfortable temperature or lighting can provoke the spread of the disease. If the shoots show signs of the development of a “black leg”, an emergency dive into separate containers is carried out. To reduce moisture, seedlings are covered with a layer of dry sand.

Petunia seedling picking

A petunia should be dived after it has 2-3 pairs of true leaves. At the same time, the plant developed quite voluminous roots. For picking, it is recommended to use containers with a volume of 200-250 ml. The bottom should have drainage holes.

 Picking seedlings into glasses

The plant, together with the ground, trying not to disturb the roots, is transferred to a separate container, the soil mixture is poured so that there are no gaps left. The transplanted seedlings are watered. After the soil settles, the earth is poured. Seedlings need to be placed in a cooler place, otherwise it will stretch out a lot.

Feeding for seedlings can be started only after diving – after about 1-1.5 weeks. Fertilizers are applied to irrigation water weekly, using half the standard dose recommended by the manufacturer. In the seedling stage, you can alternate foliar and root top dressing.

With slow growth, nitrogen fertilizing is carried out, but petunias still prefer complex and organic fertilizers. When the petunia grows to 5-7 cm, pinch the shoots over 4-5 leaves. A new shoot grows from the axil of each leaf, and the petunia will bloom more abundantly.

How to plant a petunia in open ground

The grown seedlings begin to prepare for planting in open ground. Hardening is carried out on the street, starting from 10 to 15 minutes, and then every day the duration of their stay is increased. Immediately before planting, seedlings should be outside around the clock. Petunia should be planted in the second half of May and in early June.

Garden petunias are light-loving and heat-loving plants, so they are planted in places where sunlight is provided, the soil is rich in nutrients. The reaction of the soil should not be acidic, it is advisable to prepare it in advance (at least a month before planting seedlings).

 Garden petunias

Landing is carried out in the evening at sunset or in cloudy weather. The holes are made 10 cm deep, and the distance between plants depends on their variety: for small-flowered plants, a distance of 20 cm is enough, and abundant petunia bushes are placed at a distance of 30 cm.

Plants adapt quickly and are not afraid of transplanting, but the fragility of the shoots requires accuracy in work. The soil in the cups is moistened before planting for the convenience of extracting seedlings, trying to keep the earth on the roots.

The transplant is always completed with abundant watering, without touching the leaves. It is better to mulch the soil around the plants (peat or humus will do). The first day after planting, the petunia should be shaded from direct sunlight.

These profusely flowering plants have high water and nutrient requirements. Flowers are watered as the soil dries out. Weeding is carried out constantly.

Fertilizers for young petunias begin to be applied about a week after planting in the ground or container. Top dressing for petunias growing in the ground continues until August. During the flowering period, it should be borne in mind that the plant needs to be fed more, fertilize the soil weekly, alternating organic and inorganic additives.

Because of their lush growth and profusion of flowers, petunias are very popular as garden plants and do well in the company of other flowering annuals.