The majority of 2014 was spent renovating and extending Streamfield, so now the builders have finally left I’m beginning to turn my attention finally back to the garden and bringing it back to life! I adore geraniums for multiple reasons but mostly for their fabulous splash of colour, distinctive scent, repeat flowering longevity and nostalgic memories of long summer days in my Grandfather’s garden.
Every summer I buy geraniums in plug form and get a little frustrated by the colour combinations. This month I’ve decided to bite the bullet and grow them from seed to get the colour combos I’ve always dreamt of (deepest violet, palest pink and Persil Automatic white!) I bought the seeds online with an average of 10 seeds per packet. Geraniums take sometime to grow, so its advisable to start this process at the beginning of January to mid January. I’m a little later this year, but if you start now you’ll just be a few weeks behind with a lovely plants by the end of May.
I started by inserting a seed tray with drainage holes into another water tight container. I then added multipurpose compost to the seed tray (3/4’s full) and lightly watered so it was damp to touch. (If you over water just leave the compost for a few hours to dry out and remove excess water from the container tray).
I then added vermiculite to a bowl and mixed with water until damp. Vermiculite helps geranium seeds to germinate. As the outer shell of the geranium seed is hard in texture it requires a little more help. The vermiculite helps absorb nutrients from the seed which might otherwise be washed out by watering and then releases the nutrients back to the plant roots.
I then placed the tiny seed in the seed tray and covered with vermiculite. Next I covered the entire tray with cling film and pierced holes in the top to add ventilation and placed in my airing cupboard for the next 4 days. For germination to take place the compost needs to be kept at a constant temperature of between 21-23C. At this point sunlight is not an issue. As soon as shoots appeared I removed the seed trays from the airing cupboard and removed the cling film. My trays are now on a south facing windowsill in my kitchen (see picture at the top of this post) and enjoying the sunshine and happily photosynthesising!
Since then ……
After a few days shoots appeared. In hindsight bring out your shoots sooner rather than later so they don’t become too leggy – I left mine for 5 days and next time I think I’ll leave for 3. Removing earlier prevents a leggy, wobbly stem! I’ve tried to rectify this problem using cocktail sticks as a guide, and as the plants have got bigger they are becoming more stable.
Over the course of the next few weeks the plants began to grow steadily on a south facing window, until finally at 6 weeks I potted them on into individual pots.