Germinating the seeds
Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers, such as seedling starter trays. Or you plant them all in a single, larger container, but it may be difficult to separate the roots later. Either way, use containers with drainage holes
For soil, use a well draining mix. I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite (use fine- or medium-grade perlite, not coarse-grade). An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite.
Fill the pots with soil and place a seed or 2 on the surface. If you have long-fibered sphagnum moss, sprinkle a small amount over the surface. This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination. The amount of moss to use is shown in this photo. If you don't have the moss, sprinkle a small amount of your soil mix around the seeds. Then 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 may be used to maintain near-100% humidity, but leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in. You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds every day to keep the seeds moist.
The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 77 degrees F (18-25°C). A little cooler at night is ok. Avoid letting them get above 80° F (27°C) for prolonged periods. I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.
A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of
light. Protect from direct sun.
Fertilizing -- Feed weekly with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters). After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package. Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.
If the older leaves appear pale/yellowish, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone. If soil moisture levels have been fine, the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.. especially if light levels are high.
Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs. Be careful when choosing chemical remedies, because some may harm the plant.
Contact me if you have questions.
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