Non-Stop Begonias from Seed

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by JanR, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Has anyone grown Begonias from seed? I planted some seeds in the beginning of February. They are under lights and on a heat mat. They sprouted very well and haven't grown to speak of since. They are still just tiny tiny seedlings, about an 1/16 of an inch high. I know they are supposed to be slow, but this is ridiculous. Am I doing something wrong?
     
  2. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I grew 1500 one year in my greenhouse. ...after a trip through Buchart Gardens)
    What an idiot I am! ;-)
    I suspect that your seedlings my be getting "lazy" with frequent waterings and lots of light.
    Try to let the soil (whatever/ mix) dry out a bit between waterings to make the roots extend into the mix . Also get them into overcast sunlight as soon as they are up. There is no greater tonic for seedlings than diffused sunlight.
    p.s. I used ( stilll use) half sand and half peat moss to seed begonias.

    I have had very bad results with "Grocery store" seeding mixes

    Good Luck

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  3. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    I used a 50/50 peat moss/perlite mix which seemed to be recommended from what I read. I have only watered them a couple of times. Maybe I will take them out from under the lights and see what they do. I have two begonia tubers which I saved from last year and one immediately started growing right away and is doing very well. The other one just sat there for a month and I was about to give up on it. Yesterday, I saw a tiny sprout and now it seems to be growing. To think I almost threw it away. I won't give up on my other begonias just yet. Maybe I will put them into an east window for a few days and see what happens.
     
  4. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    That mix you are using is probably too coarse for those tiny seeds and the little roots can dry up before they get a grab on anything.
    I like to use a fine mist on this type of situation. . If you have a clean sprayer and bottle this would be to you advantage to keep the seeds moist during germination and not wet.
    I trust you have them convered with a bit of newpaper or the like?

    Bob
     
  5. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    I thought Begonias needed light to germinate. Anyway, they germinated just fine, but they are not growing. Maybe the roots are a problem, the tiny sprouts are still nice and green though, so there is still hope that they will grow. I will try misting them daily.
     
  6. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Yes they do need light but they also need moisture. What usually happens in the home is that they go from lots of moisture to nearly none for hours. The newspaper lets light through and traps the moisture while still allowing some transpiration.

    Good luck with them.

    Bob
     
  7. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Jan and all--I know this is the usual kneejerk kinda response, but in this case I am wondering if the little guys have enough to eat. Begonia seeds are so small that they would need feeding pretty quickly once germinated.

    Also check they are as close to the growlights as possible for maximum photosynthesis...if you're using fluorescents they won't burn the foliage no matter how close you get them, but more light more growth other things being equal.

    We've used a single ply of kleenex laid over the seeded area, keeping the seeds more evenly moist and less disturbed by watering, and still allowing the seedlings to grow up thru the tissue. But as you've mentioned germination hasn't been a problem with your setup...

    Do you know what the temp is around the seedlings? Air temps, not just the soil thanks to the heat mat...? Seem to remember they appreciate warmer temps than we normally have in our grow room...
     
  8. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    My house is pretty cold. One of the reason that I kept them on the heat mat while they were under lights was to keep them a little warmer. I am wondering if that was a bad idea. I have started feeding them with a weak solution of 10-15-10, which I use on my house plants.
     
  9. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I would hold off on any plant foods until they have the first set of true leaves.
    The "little green ears" that pop up first are called cotyledons and serve to nourish the plant while it puts down it's tap root.
    Probably the best thing for them now is lots of light and cool nights. ( room temperature is cool enough)

    Good luck

    Bob
     
  10. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    With many seedlings I'd totally agree, Bob...the seed has quite a bit of stored nutrition to get things going and fertilizing is far more likely to damage the seed roots than help them. We'd all agree that, if used at all, the strength of any fertilizer solutions should be much more dilute than for adult plants

    Since you've grown so many begonias successfully your advice is preferable to mine. I wonder about the stored nutrients in the tiny begonia seed, and marvel that yours have grown to true leaf stage without supplemental fertilizers.

    Could you comment on the rate of growth...I do recall these guys being agonizingly slow at first, tho they eventually size up and grow like "normal" plants! This might be the simple answer to Jan's question...are hers just doing the normal "begonia" thing :-)or are they dawdling even more than usual?
     
  11. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    I read that they should be producing the first true leaf after 1 week and they are just not doing that. :(
     

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