Starting geraniums from seed--Carolyn or anyone with ideas?

Discussion in 'Seed Starting / Propagation' started by marlingardener, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Last year I bought three little geraniums at a feed store, put them in containers where they thrived, and I fell in love. I'd like to order geranium seeds and start my own to grow and to share.
    However, I have no idea how hard it is to do this, how long it takes to get geraniums of a size to put outside in containers, and what type of soil to use and when and how often to fertilize. I've looked for information on various sites and it's completely confusing and sometimes opposite.
    Can anyone who has started geraniums from seed give me some guidance?
     
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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Jane, Geraniums are actually quite easy to germinate and grow. it just takes time. I started my seeds in December on heat mats. They are now at the 1 leaf stage. From germination to flowering is about 14 - 16 weeks. But that is my frame for a potted plant. growing them in the ground might yield an earlier bloom, but I doubt it. They need a decent # of quality daylight hours to set a bud. just be patient, but they are pretty hardy once you get them established. You get more sunlight than here also which might be in your favor, too. I have had them germinate without heat mats, too, but those were volunteer seeds and I don't take a chance on purchased seeds. If you have any that pollinate and go to seed save the seeds and regrow those. I did that for a crop last year and I couldn't tell the difference between purchased seeds and saved seeds. hope you have a raving success with them. Any fertilizer will be fine. osmoscote is an excellent pot fertilizer though. it is time release and you can just water and forget, no worries over "did I fertilize these lately or when DID I last fertilize them"? in the ground... just side dress them with compost.
     
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  4. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Jane, did you start some seeds? just curious as to what you decided to do.
     
  5. Tacticalgardener

    Tacticalgardener Seedling

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    Does anyone have a good source for geranium seeds? I have had a lot of trouble finding them. Most mail order companies only sell live plants. Geraniums are one of my favorite too. I would love to grow my own and not rely on buying the live plants and the store.
     



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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Carolyn, yes, I have a twelve cell with geranium seeds on a heat mat and under a dome. I got a late start this year, but we'll see how it goes and I'll start them earlier next season.
    Tactical, try Park Seed who seems to have a good variety of seeds. I got my seed locally at a nursery and you might want to check with local suppliers also.
     
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  7. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I buy mine from a wholesale supplier, but I saw a new variety in the HPS catalog along with a bunch of other regular varieties.. Stokes? I think I have ordered from them before, too. I also have saved geranium seeds and grew those. They are bit of work to collect, but worth it.
     
  8. Tacticalgardener

    Tacticalgardener Seedling

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    I've had geraniums before that I've bought as live plants from the big box stores. It is like the only flower I've had that I can't figure out how to collect seeds from. Maybe I am just slow, but could you help with that? :oops:
     
  9. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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  10. Tacticalgardener

    Tacticalgardener Seedling

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    Yes, I have only really seen the first one sold.
     
  11. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Toni, I started the common geranium ( the pelagornium x hortorum) in three colors--red, coral, and a pinkish white. If I can find seed for the scented geraniums, I'll start some next year. I love the scent of the nutmeg geranium, and of the rose geranium!
     
  12. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Jane, I don't think that you will find the scented geraniums from seed... cuttings are the way to get those.

    Tactical Gardener, seeds from geraniums are a bit on the scarce side. IF you find one pollinated you will have a ball of mostly dried calyxes with a rather long and stiff spike protruding out from the sphere. I don't have any pictures to pull from my camera or I would pop one up. When a seed cluster that gets pollinated ripens the seed pops out of the calyx and the pointy spike curls tightly into a ringlet with the oval seed still attached. they are ready for their "ride" to wherever attached via the ringlet. When I find these ready to pop from the calyx I give them a pull and place them into a container until I am ready to start them. I then "clean " the curly stem off by ripping it away from the stem as they are tightly attached and put the seed in a sterile soil media on a heat mat to start germination. sounds as if it is difficult maybe, but it isn't. Seeds from geraniums are just not prolific to be found. BTW a seed is about the size of a small grain of rice or maybe even mouse poop size.
     
  13. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I just found a packet of saved geranium seeds. This is not what they would look like if you bought them. 100_2579.JPG

    these are somewhat cleaned. I picked most of the tail and fuzz off. sometimes when I get them they have been coated and are a bright colored seed and easy to see.
    100_2580.JPG
     
  14. Tacticalgardener

    Tacticalgardener Seedling

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    Oh wow, thank you for the visual! The plants I buy from the store have never gone to seed. I wonder if the big companies do that on purpose?
     
  15. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Nothing they do. Some set a few seeds some set none. As soon as I find a plant that didn't get trashed by the rain I will get a photo of what one in seed looks like.... Which may be next door or maybe not til I have some this summer.
     
  16. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Carolyn, thank you for information about scented geraniums. I'll check a couple of nurseries, and if they don't carry them, I can order on-line. I may be the first kid on my block with a rose scented geranium!
     
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