Annual flowers from seed

Annual plants like petunias and pansies, and for shade impatiens and lobelia, require 12 weeks from the time the seed is sown until flowering plants are ready to set out in the garden, (after the last frost of the spring.) You still have lots of time yet! Others such as zinnias, marigolds, salvia and snapdragons grow much faster.
A packet of seed may contain hundreds of seeds. Sow only a quantity that you can handle. Sowing your own seeds indoors requires a light room or preferably an indoor light garden, or best of all a greenhouse.
To start your annuals you will need a mini-greenhouse tray, clay pots or pans, soil, fertilizer and labels. To start the seed use a good seeding soil. As you fill the pot, gently firm the soil. Fill to within one inch (approx. 2 cm.) from the top, and then smooth the surface. Simply tear a corner of the seed packet and scatter the seeds evenly and thinly over the surface. Press the seeds down lightly so that they are embedded in the soil. Now spread enough soil over the seeds to barley cover them. Very fine seeds such as petunias may be sown on the top of the soil with no covering at all. After the seed are sown, water them with a fine mist spray.
Cover the pots of seeds with a pane of glass or use a plastic bag to form a small tent over the pot. Place your pots in a warm window but keep them shaded from the sun until they germinate. Note that pansy seeds will only germinate in total darkness; cover with newspaper or black plastic. Impatiens seed, on the other hand, must have light to germinate (do not cover with soil). As soon as the new seedlings have produced their third leaf, transplant into a mini-greenhouse tray. Water your seedlings with a fine spray after transplanting and shade them from the sun for a day or two.
As well as starting your seeds indoors, why not try starting begonias, cannas and callas that are all now available.

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