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Impatiens sodenii 'Flash'

Impatiens sodenii 'Flash'

Germinating the seeds


 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best germination.

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers.  Or you plant them all in a single container, but it may be more difficult to transplant them later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes.

 For soil, use a well draining mix high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-grade perlite, not coarse-grade).  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some granular fertilizer mixed in. 

 Gently place a seed in each pot (or if using a communal pot, space them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from each other).  If you have long-fibered sphagnum moss (not ground peat moss), sprinkle a very thin layer on top.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  This photo shows how much moss to use.  If you do not have sphagnum moss, sprinkle some perlite or vermiculite on top.  Add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome or bag is good for maintaining moisture, but leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water every day to keep the sphagnum moss and soil moist. 

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 77 degrees F (18-25C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 80 F (27C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 A bright LED or fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights"!).  Protect from direct sun. 

 They should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks, but may take up to 8 weeks sometimes.  Increase air ventilation slightly after sprouting to prevent rot, but continue keeping the soil surface moist for 3 weeks after sprouting.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- This Impatiens prefers bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid strong afternoon sun.

Fertilizing -- For the first 6 weeks, feed weekly with a small amount of diluted liquid fertilizer (1/8 strength).  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for small seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  After 6 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.

 It's normal for a leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone, or the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  After transplanting, give no sun or liquid fertilizer the first week.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Never let it dry out completely.  You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate --
Like many Impatiens, it is happiest in moderate daytime temperatures and cooler nights.  It might not thrive if temperatures consistently get over about 85 degrees F (29 C) and nights are warm.  I don't think it can survive below 30 degrees F (-1 C).  You may save the seeds each year and grow the plant as an annual.

 Above about 40-50% humidity is best.  If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

Pests to watch for -- Look for any insects that you might find on your other houseplants.  Try using insecticidal soap spray before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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