Index > Garden Blog

Date: 25 Dec 2019, Entry id: 1577299564-1


How to quickly germinate tropical seeds in winter

By Mark Hooten, the Garden Doc

Q: I live in the New England area where the winters are very long and dreary. I plant both a veggie and flower garden during the warmer seasons and am especially fond of growing chili-peppers. On account of most chili's longer growing seasons, I need to get already established plants in the ground as soon as the weather is warm enough. My problem is that despite my best attempts to germinate and grow seedlings ahead of time - even in my sunniest window - I just can't seem to keep the soil evenly warm enough to get them to germinate, no matter how warm the room is kept. And on the occasion they do come up, the seedlings always seem to remain weak and stunted, likely owing to the especially low humidity of winter. I also tried using an electric seed-starting heating pad, and the results were only a little better. Are there any tips you could give me?

A: Yes, I understand your issues and can sympathize! While it might be surprising to some, even here in sunny S.W. Florida, there are long stretches of winter weather where the ambient temperatures are simply too cold for germinating many of the more tropical seeds, such as the notoriously warm-weather chili-peppers. Also, I am likewise a fan of chilis, and always have at least a few different kinds growing at any given time. I have two great suggestions...