It's been five days and I don't see a single sprout. Should I be worried? From what I've read, they're usually seen by this time.
Most often when I have started them, it takes 3-5 days, but it has taken longer with some. Seeds age, freshness is one factor.
You do not want them to be too wet, but if they are not moist then it can slow things down. If in a propagator it shouldn't be a problem unless you see that the surface is dry.
Hard to say with not seeing your set up and not knowing the procedure taken.
This is my set up. I have these guys in cups with holes punctured in the bottom. The soil is 50/50 perlite and cactus soil mix. I have three of them in each cup. They're all situated on top of a heating mat that keeps these guys around 34 degrees Celsius. Sometimes it gets a bit high so I turn it off during the day and it goes down to about 21 degrees Celsius. After watering them for the first time, I placed plastic wrap on top to keep the humidity up. They sit in front of a east facing window, though that probably doesn't matter since none of them sprouted.
Looks quite dry to me, i don't see much condensation on that foil... They need quite high humidity to sprout. But there is still time to start panicking, give them a day or two
I myself have been getting worried about my seeds too.. I planted seeds on 2/26, nothing yet!! I used a plastic rectangular planter and put about 35 seeds, 50/50 potting soil and perlite, been spraying with water almost everyday to keep a bit moist, its pretty chilly today but the last several days have been quite nice.. should I also cover with plastic wrap?? will post a pic asap
I also wonder whether they are moist enough too? 34C is rather warm especially with such an airy mix with the 50% perlite in it plus not having an airtight lid would also let any moisture you have given them escape. Is the mix evenly moist?...it needs to be wetted thoroughly but not sopping wet. If you cut an individual cling film cover for each pot attached with an elastic band this may help keep the moisture in better.
When they do sprout I would be careful they don't get too drawn as the soil is far down the cups....I would cut each cup down so the soil is 1/2 inch below the tops.
If they don't show in a few more days, I would be tempted to fish them out and see if they are still viable by very gently squeezing them, re-pot them if OK, maybe in a mix with less perlite and try again. Seed/seedlings do not need such a fast draining mix as older DR's. as they need the moisture around them, they can't dry out in the early stages. Hope this helps, good luck and keep us posted.
Gill from the UK.
I agree with Gill. I'll be planting this weekend using seed starter soilless mix in a domed planter. I've used this in the past and have had very good luck with it. It holds the moisture in, which is critical to the seeds, and each "peat pot" (which actually is not peat anymore), is filled to the top with the mix ensuring plenty of light for the seedlings once they germinate.
The reason why there is no condensation on the foil is because a few minutes before the photo I took off the wrap to water them.
Good news everyone! I checked the seeds again and spotted one very tiny sprout!! Hopefully this is a sign for many to come.
Glad you have got them going, it's always a dodgy time at this point in their lives I reckon. Crack this germination lark and you will be well on your way! Just goes to show you how different methods CAN work eh? We just have go with what we think is best as we all have such diverse conditions to deal with. Keep us posted on how they do?
Gill from the UK.
So there was one little seedling that sprouted and I waited two days to see if any more would come up. When nothing else came up, I decided to do a little digging. It turns out that there were quite a few seedlings trapped under the dirt! I unearthed them and removed a few layers of soil in hopes of their survival. Here are a few that I found hidden:
And the two tiny guys next to the big one:
Moral of the story? Don't put too much soil on top of your seeds!
Next time, I think I'll germinate the seeds on wet paper towels and transport them into soil once they pop out of the shells. What do you guys think about this plan?
Ahhhh, the poor little guys were buried alive eh? Most seeds will only need a depth of mix equal to their diameter on top of them to germinate properly, some don't even need to be covered at all. The paper towel method does also work as seen here on the forum in another thread, so maybe worth a try with some of your spare seeds.
Have you had any more sprout since you last posted? How are the survivors doing now I wonder?
Gill from the UK.
Only a few were healthy enough to keep growing. There's about four living sprouts. Some of the seedlings I unearthed died a day later (too late, I suppose), but the other four are doing fine. Four living out of 24; I'll have to do better next time!