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Growing Flowers (Annuals) from Seed
Sat 16-Feb-13
8:59 pm
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Rob12
London, UK

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I have not had very much luck growing ornamental plants in previous years.  Presently we seem to be doing okay with the daffodil, tulip and dahlia bulbs we planted up in pots over the past few weeks but there most of the work has been done by the nursery...we just need to provide dirt and water...

 

I have bought a selection of flower seeds both here and when in Italy and was wondering if there is anything I can do to ensure a higher survival rate with seedlings?  Some of the packets indicate that the seeds can be sown direct...somehow I doubt that is a good idea what with four cats, a dog and at least once fox digging over the back garden.  Is there any issue with flowers liking/not liking transplanting?  Flowers always seem so much more delicate than the vegetable plants I grow so am always a bit petrified of handling them.

 

Any guidance much appreciated.

Sun 17-Feb-13
9:14 am
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Xahha
Suffolk

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We plant ornamental seeds in trays, and then prick them out, often with a cocktail stick, in to larger containers and when sturdy enough, in to larger ones still until they are ready for permanent planting. We have the same issue- a very active dog, lots of pigeons and other birds who dig over the soil etc., so it is a sensible way of doing it.

 Are we having fun yet? I am!

Sun 17-Feb-13
12:18 pm
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Terrier
York

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Rob, quite a few flower seedlings are so delicate that they suffer for transplanting, however careful you are with them, and really the do need sowing in situ and taking your chances with the animals, you could always try covering the area with a bit of agricultural fleece or netting.
There are always a few I do try, but my garden is mainly perennials, and over the years, the few bedding plants I get for my baskets, I tend to cheat and buy miniplugs either on line or at a good nursery we have near us, all the hard work getting them planted and sprouted has been done, in past years I did try and raise all from seed, but its very trial and error with British weather.

Sun 17-Feb-13
12:57 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I buy plugs too as seeds are too hit and miss. It always seems a cheaper option but is not in the end. The French are obsessed with geraniums but always buy plug plants which look glorious. If I had a big greenhouse I might try seeds but it is time consuming.

Trying to enjoy life as it is

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Sun 17-Feb-13
2:10 pm
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Terrier
York

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Never had much luck with geraniums for seed, marigolds are always a dead cert, and I have done lobelia from seed before with reasonable success.

Sun 17-Feb-13
4:55 pm
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brightspark
Wilts

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I find it a bit hit and miss - depends on temperature, position, watering, etc.

I do remember a few years ago, when OH was working on yet another of his cars, I was standing chatting to him, next to a conifer, and noticed little round cones, which flicked tiny flat seeds into my hand when I touched one.

I continued to 'rattle' the little cones, and then planted all the little seeds  - actually thinking nothing will come of this exercise (!).

They took and I ended up with about 100 little seedlings - and after thinning, we grew about 50 of them. We have a bit of a hedge down our field in France of home-grown conifers !!

No-one was more surprised than I was !  surprised

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Sun 17-Feb-13
8:02 pm
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Rob12
London, UK

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I am a fan of plug plants and all the flowers I grew last year and the year before were bought in. Much of what we will grow this year will also be ordered in. The surfinias in particular we get as large plug plants. I will split out the one lot of seed and do half in situ (protected from marauders with whatever I can find) and the other half in trays. My neighboyrs are just back from Mecca and have passed some Saudi Basil our way. It smells great, a bit like Vietnamese basil actually, so I have split that up as cuttings and am hoping that they will take root.

Sun 17-Feb-13
8:03 pm
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Rob12
London, UK

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They took and I ended up with about 100 little seedlings – and after thinning, we grew about 50 of them. 

This is impressive. How long did the seeds take to germinate and the trees to grow on?

Sun 17-Feb-13
10:44 pm
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brightspark
Wilts

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It was a while ago, Rob, but I believe they grew in the first season of planting the seeds in rows in an ordinary seed tray. That was the quickest part ! smile

This was probably about 15 years ago.

About 10 years ago, they were about 12 inches (30cms) tall. Keeping them in smaller containers restricted their growth, I think. Space was the problem!

The trees in the field in France are now at least 2 metres tall. (Taller than OH certainly!)

"Work for a cause, not for applause
Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
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