Starting Petunias in Cells

Sweety2002(2a)August 3, 2011

Ok, so here is what I found out today. I went to North Eastern Seed and checked out their trays and cells and domes and gardening supplies. I learned a little something that I did not realize. THE CELLS ARE DIFFERENT SIZES!!! Now I knew they came in different amounts per tray. What I didn't know were that the trays were the same size but the cells were a different size.

My question is which cell would be the ideal size to start the petunias in and would I have to transplant them at some point BEFORE settling them outside in the flower bed??

Thank you so very much for all the info!! :)

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Hi there.

I'm not the expert here as I only started last year experimenting with seedlings in the house, but here's my experience.

Those teensy tiny little cells are useless. Yes you'll have to transplant, and sooner than you may like. ( I've never done petunias but let's assume they're pretty much like any other plant). I bought mid sized and larger pots, and depending on the size the plant would end up being, started anywhere from 1 to 3 seeds in each pot, and then transplanted up to bigger pots. Keep in mind that those domes are only used for a short time during germination and then you have to take them off. Also, you'll find later when you want to plant more than one type of plant, if you have the dome covering them all, you'll have to move the seedlings that have sprouted out from under the dome and leave the rest there. So, you'll need at least two trays, one for the new seedlings, and one for the stuff that hasn't sprouted. Some people swear by bottom watering. If you decide to get trays where you do that, you'll also find you'll be moving things around, as all your plants won't need to be watered at the same time. I'm saying this because once you get petunia seedlings, you're going to branch out into other things, too. If you decide to plant something like tomatoes, then yogurt containers are ideal. I transplanted my tomatoes from the mid-size, to bigger, and then to the yogurt containers before planting out.

You mentioned your fiance. Have him look at all the pictures on the Starting from Seed forum before he builds something for you. There's so much information on that forum that you could spend a few winter days reading it and you'll learn a lot.

Please don't spend a lot of money before looking at that forum, and "talking" to us on this forum. One of the most important things you're going to need is an oscillating fan for air flow, and chains for your light fixtures so that they can be moved up frequently.

That's all I can think of for now =:)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Like NAF, I now start all my petunias in 3" pots. When I first started, I used the small cell packs but petunias grow fast and you'll soon have to transplant. I don't know if you can do this in your zone but I winter sow mine (Fantasy, a small flowering variety), waiting til the beginning of April to start them. I don't think it would work for the Wave type. There is a great Winter Sowing forum here and everyone here on this forum will give you some great advice.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Petunia seed is very fine and small. I am not sure if you were thinking of sowing individual seeds into the cell packs? What I do is sow my petunia seeds into a container and when they are at the 1-2 true leaf stage I transplant them into cell packs. This takes approx. 3 weeks after sprouting.You will need good light to have the seeds germinate. I have plant stands with grow lights on chains so I can lower or raise the lights to where I need them. Petunia seed is usually very easy to germinate...Jean

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:02PM
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Nutsaboutflowers.....I'm not spending any money unless I know for sure what I'm getting. ;) I still don't know which seeds I'm getting, but every time I look at the catalogue I'm adding more and more. :P

Yep, both me and my fiance have been looking at the "Starting From Seed" forum. We've seen a couple of different setups that look really good and getting a few ideas. :)

Funny you should mention tomatoes, I was also thinking of planting some Beefsteak and Roma tomos, so that info helps too. ;)

I really appreciate all the info that you have given me. This is a GREAT forum. Helpful info from awesome and friendly people. :)

Marric.....I think I need to start them in February for end of May, beginning of June planting. I like to think that around the May long weekend would be safe to transplant them outside. :) I might have to start mine at different times though, depending on the variety. :)

Savona......I honestly don't know how many seeds I would put in each cell. That would have been my next question. Hehehee!! ;) I know that the seeds are soooo very tiny. I was actually gonna order pelleted seeds. I don't know what those look like and how much bigger they would be compared to just a regular seed.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 7:05PM
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Be careful how many seeds you buy. Remember you need some spare time to care for whatever you grow =:)

If you like marigolds, they were the first thing I tried and they were very successful. I was so proud =:)

This year one of the things I planted was heirloom tomatoes. I think I planted 30 pots, figuring I'd get maybe 10-15, but I got about 27 ! I lost count. I ended up giving quite a few plants away, and the smallest ones in the end I just let die. I just had no where else to plant them. Yikes!

Could you please tell us what type of gardener you are? Do you use chemicals, etc., or do you like to do things organically? I have a few cool hints if you don't like to use chemicals.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Seed packets contain alot of useful information on seed starting requirements of different seeds but there was one piece of conflicting advice I often noticed when it came to petunia seeds in particular: some packets suggested covering the seeds with a thin layer of soil, others suggested not covering the seeds at all and just pressing them lightly onto the surface of the soil. From my experience over the last few years, I find the seeds do best if not covered with any soil and just pressed onto the soil surface. As mentioned in a post above, these seeds need light to germinate.

If you're looking for seed sources, you might want to try eBay as they have an amazing variety and most vendors offer quite reasonable shipping charges (better than most mail-order seed companies, in my opinion).

Good luck with your seed-starting adventures! It is addictive!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 1:15AM
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Groggyfrog........Thanks, I will definitely have fun!! :) Yeah, I've noticed that too. I've read in a couple of different places that they should not be covered and some that say they can be covered. I won't cover them, I'll just press lightly into the soil. I've actually found Stokes to have a TON of variety and am ordering from there, but I am open to suggestions. :)

Nutsaboutflowers......Yeah, I think I am going to get very carried away as I usually do. :P If I find that I have way too many, I can always give some to my neighbor as she plants some petunias every year plus she's got a lot of perennials too. :) Plus with tomatoes, we plant a lot of tomatoes every year just in case they don't produce well. No shortage of people to give extras to. ;)

I would prefer to do things organically but would not be opposed to using chemicals out of desperation. ;) I would LOVE some hints, if you wouldn't mind sharing please. :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:08AM
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