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Questions to Sowing


The most frequently asked questions about cultivation
The germination capacity of the seeds is no guarantee for successful sowing, and propagation from seeds is not always easy, because depending on the species, it is sometimes a long way from cultivation to the finished plant, which is also the case can be accompanied by failure. In this case, do not immediately throw in the towel, because the so-called "green thumb" is not innate and 100% success is usually not given, because you are working with a natural product and not with an industrially manufactured product. During the cultivation and rearing, problems can arise in a variety of forms, but you can counteract them with appropriate precautions and some background knowledge. The following questions

1. When is the best time of year to grow?
Our range of seeds can of course be sown all year round, of course spring is preferred for most seeds in our latitudes. Seed rarities, which ripen in the tropics in the rainy season, then spring/summer on the other hemisphere, germinate preferentially when autumn/winter has set in here.  
2. Why shouldn't you use normal potting soil for growing?
Normal potting soil contains too much fertilizer salts, which burn the delicate roots of the germinated seeds and seedlings. Only use nutrient-poor, germ-free and water-permeable substrates. Coconut, special potting soil, cactus soil, perlite and vermiculite are ideal. You can find more information on the sowing substrate in our general cultivation instructions
. 3. What are the seeds used to file or roughen?
Both a nail file and coarse emery paper (available in hardware stores) can be used. The quick method of scratching the seeds with a carpet knife is also common. In order to keep the risk of injury as low as possible, it is advisable to only use larger seeds that you can hold comfortably in your fingers. 
4. Always allow all seeds to swell?
Pre-soaking is not always necessary. We give specific advice on the species to pre-well. You can find further information on this in our cultivation instructions .
5. Sow all the seeds in a bag or just a part?
You should already sow all the seeds in a bag, because firstly some preparatory work is sometimes necessary, and secondly it can happen that one or the other little plant is damaged and dies when transplanting. If out of 10 seeds purchased only 5 are planted and all 5 die, you start all over again. This is wasted time and money.
6. How deep should the seeds be in the substrate?
Most species are no deeper than themselves thick, usually about 1-2 cm. The thicker the seed, the more substrate can be covered, the smaller the seed, the less substrate needs to be covered. You can read more information under sowing depth.
7. What temperatures do exotic seeds require?
A germination temperature of 22-28°C is usually sufficient, this means the soil or substrate temperature, not the ambient temperature. This is achieved on a heating mat. Specific information is given in the cultivation instructions.
8. How do I achieve higher temperatures for germination in autumn/winter?
Buy a heating mat. These are also available in our shop for the windowsill at a relatively low price, which means that the electricity costs are kept within limits. In autumn/winter you can also abuse your radiator. This also serves its purpose if you only sow small amounts. But never place the greenhouse or other potty directly on the heater. The substrate dries out too quickly. 
9. How long do seeds actually keep?
This is very different and depends on the genus and species. This is usually at least 2-3 years, since they only generally lose their ability to germinate and this means that not as many little plants grow as they might right after purchase. 
10. When should seedlings be repotted?
Whenever the little plants crowd each other. This is usually after 3-5 pairs of leaves have appeared, which then have a size of approx. 5-15 cm. The size depends on whether the species is fast-growing or slow-growing.
11. How is pricking done?
First fill the pots with suitable substrate for transplanting. Make a cone-shaped hole in the substrate with a prick, spoon handle or other object. Carefully lift the seedlings out of the propagation bed. Shorten the roots a bit so that they are not bent and this also encourages root formation. Make sure that these are approx. 1-2 cm above the ground (this is the distance between the cotyledons and the substrate), water well. Never carry out this work in full sun!
12. What is the best location for seedlings/young plants?
Always protect transplanted plants from strong sunlight and draughts. The plants must first be slowly acclimated to the sun. Ensure higher humidity by spraying with warm water, especially in winter, so that the temperature differences are not too great. Some species, such as rainforest plants, never expose to the blazing sun, they naturally grow mostly under higher treetops, in the undergrowth or try to climb the treetops. 
13. What temperatures do young plants need to overwinter?
Most species can do with around 10-20 degrees and need moderate but regular watering, the root ball should never dry out completely. Please note that slightly warmed water is always used for watering.
14. What is the best location for young plants in winter?
Basically, the location should be as bright as possible in the first year after sowing, otherwise the same rules as described under point 10 apply.
15. Summary and basic information about wintering
There is a rule of thumb : the warmer the location of a plant, the more light and water it needs. The cooler the location, the darker and less water will evaporate.
a) evergreen plants must always be light, both young plants and
    older plants
b) deciduous plants can be dark, this is only
    important  for older plants
c) always choose a light location for young plants in the first year after sowing
    , regardless of whether they are evergreen or deciduous
16. How can I achieve higher humidity for plants in living spaces?
Higher humidity can be achieved by daily spraying with room temperature water, depending on the needs of the plants with lime-free water, or by placing the plants on a constantly moist watering mat (fleece), saucer or bowl filled with expanded clay, Seramis, gravel. The bottom of the pot should not come into contact with the water in the bowl. 

Problems when cultivating seeds and raising seedlings
1. Cultivation substrate in the greenhouse is moldy, what now?
Sometimes it is not enough just to keep the ventilation flaps or sliders open, depending on the model. The greenhouse cover should therefore be removed 1-2 times a week for about 1-2 hours. As a preventive measure, a quinosol solution (dissolving tablets are available in every pharmacy) can be added immediately when mixing the growing substrate.
2. The growing medium was too wet during the germination period
Seeds rot, seedlings and young plants suffer from a lack of oxygen and die because the substrate is baked. If you like to water too much, you should add more additives to the substrate so that the soil does not cake and become encrusted. A light cover with sand, vermiculite, seramis or fine aquarium gravel is also helpful, with vermiculite and seramis having the property of keeping the substrate moist. 
3. The cultivation substrate has dried out during the germination period.
The seedlings are usually dead. If the substrate has only dried out for a short time, check immediately whether anything can be saved. If this is the case, place the still good seedlings in fresh substrate - sometimes it helps.
4. Maggots roam the soil and eat the seeds
These maggots do not come from the coconut fiber or the potting soil, because these are usually free of pests, rather I think they are the maggots of the fungus gnat. These literally eat up the seeds, and the roots, leaves and stalks of the seedlings are not spared. There is no herb against the voracious animals, since there are no predators either. The only thing that helps is complete disposal - do not put it in the compost, but in the "organic waste bin!".
Preventive : You can add some rock dust to the growing substrate and hang up yellow boards.
There are also seeds in which pests had already settled when they were ripe. Even if most seeds are only imported with a health certificate, there can always be pests in the seeds because nobody can see into the grain. Here too only the complete disposal helps, as before, or you are a lover of these invertebrates. 
5. The seeds do not germinate, what can be the reason?
There can be various reasons for this. Not sufficiently scarified, not soaked long enough or too short, soil heat was not sufficient or too high, stratification maybe needed not long enough, too dry, too wet.
6. Small black flies walk and fly on the surface of the earth
This is in all likelihood the fungus gnat, a really annoying nuisance. The breeding conditions are ideal for the reproduction of these animals, moist and dark. If you notice it early enough, yellow boards or adding some stone powder to the substrate will help in most cases  . However, if the fungus gnats have multiplied too much, the only thing that helps is complete disposal and a new start. In this case, the bio bin is in demand again.
7. Whiteflies fly when plants are touched
Whiteflies usually reproduce in greenhouses at high, humid temperatures or are introduced by newly purchased plants. Keep the plants a little drier, cooler and hang yellow panelson. In addition, an insecticide should be administered, as whiteflies lay their eggs and a new population is created in a very short time. The plants are reinfected again and again.
8. Spider mites on plants and seedlings
These arachnids reproduce at lightning speed under high temperatures and dry conditions.
Preventive:
a) ensure high humidity and good ventilation in the greenhouse. Spray the plants frequently with water on the top and bottom of the leaves
b) Spray with horsetail broth
c) Strengthen the plants with nettle manure or rock dust  
d) Spray stubborn plants with leaf shine spray
Control:
a) with garlic or onion broth (leave the dry skins in cold water overnight) and water them regularly b)
if the infestation is a bit stronger, give the plant a good shower and put it in a plastic bag, tie it up and put it in the shade for 3-5 days, usually the spider mites are initially controlled because they cannot live under these conditions and cannot multiply further.
If you have a large, infested plant population, this method is of course too expensive and you should use an acaricide. It is best to buy 2-3 different varieties, because spider mites become resistant very quickly. A different remedy should be used for each required application.
9. The seedlings fall over for no reason
You probably seeded too densely. The roots of the seedlings now interfere with each other, and there are also factors such as too much soil warmth, damp substrate and insufficient light. The seedlings have everything they need to grow, but if there is a "too much" or "too little" of any factor, the growth will be out of balance. Example: If the plants lack the light they need in winter (everything else is fine), then  the plants stretch towards the light source that is closest to the plant. They get longer and longer, wither and can eventually fall over.
Pick out the tender, less vigorous seedlings. In flora and fauna, the puny little plants are suppressed, sick and weak animals die and only the stronger survive. In order to grow a healthy stock of plants, we should only continue cultivating the strongest plants. You can find more tips in our cultivation guide under " After germination ". 
10. Fall-off disease
The real fall-off disease is a fungus that mainly develops when the substrate is too moist. The stalks or the stalk base of the young plants rot. Keep the soil drier and mix in some sand. Good ventilation should also be ensured.
preventive: Pour horsetail broth and a quinosol solution
11. I got a new plant and there are snail eggs in the substrate?
These little beads are usually a slow-release fertilizer and not snail eggs.  

© Sunshine-Seeds - Harkortstr. 16 – 59229 Ahlen
Tel. 0 23 82 / 80 50 75 – Fax: 0 23 82 / 80 50 92 
www.sunshine-seeds.de

 

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