About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Starting Lisianthus from Seed

Most cut flower growers who grow lisianthus
start with plugs - tiny seedlings sold by large commercial growers. They do this because lisianthus grow extremely slowly for the first 3 months and are a little finicky about growing conditions when small. However, for someone with a small business like mine, starting from seed can be a good option. The pluses for me are it is cheaper to grow from seed than buy plugs and I can succession sow to get lisianthus for a longer season.

Pelleted lisianthus seed

Lisianthus take about 6 months to bloom from seed so I start the first ones in early January. I start some more in late February and a third batch in mid-April. The ones sown in January will bloom in July, the February sowing blooms in August and the April sowing blooms September and October. The commonly available seed varieties (Echo, Cinderella and Twinkle) are best sown in January or February.

Lisianthus seed are like dust, smaller than poppy seeds, so they are sold pelleted. Each seed is coated with a substance that dissolves when moistened. The pelleted seed are still small but can be handled individually. Because the seedlings grow so slowly I start them in 100 or 200 cell plug flats to to conserve space. Lisianthus seed are surface sown, misted with a sprayer, covered with a humidity dome and placed under the lights. The seedlings will emerge in 1 or 2 weeks but are almost impossible to see.

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