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Date: 2 Nov 2018, Entry id: 1541138163-1

Happy Hobby: growing tropicals from seeds

TopTropicals.com

Q: What is the best time to start tropical plants from seeds? Should I wait till spring?

A: If you want to feel happier, get into gardening. If you want to feel God, start plants from seeds and watch New Life grow from a tiny grain. Fall is a perfect time to start tropicals from seed.
Traditionally, people prefer sowing seeds in Spring, especially temperate species for a vegetable garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers... My grandmother up North started them in early Spring in paper cups on a windowsill, then once the temperatures went just above freezing, she planted them out in the garden beds, and that early start always helped her to have the best early crop in the neighborhood.
When we deal with tropical plants, "just above freezing" is not warm enough. Which means you have to grow small babies indoors for quite a while, providing additional heating when needed. Heating pads always work best. If you keep your living space around 75F (ideal for many species), this is a perfect temperature to get your seeds started. Tropical plants are not like annual tomatoes that try to grow through the season as fast as possible. They take time. So the sooner you start, the more chances to get small seedlings just in time when Spring air outside is "warm enough" for those tropicals - at least in 70's.
A great advantage of starting tropical seeds indoors is controlled temperature and moisture. In the plant world, environment extremes are not good for the germination process. Mild conditions of your home or a greenhouse create better chances for successful growth. Seeds won't get overheated in the hot Summer sun, and won't rot because of a sudden heavy rain. Just keep in mind that some species require light for good germination.
For the best seed germination:
- Use only well-drained mix - we recommend special Seed Germination Mix #3, professional grade. Put seeds not too deep (1/2 inch deep or less) to allow air circulation
- Soak large seeds for a few hours with Sunshine-S solution
- Keep warm (75-85F) and in bright light
- Keep soil slightly moist but not soggy
- Apply micro-element booster SuperFood to baby seedlings for vigorous growth

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