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Impatiens sakerana

Impatiens sakerana

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 or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.

 Fill the pots with soil, place a seed or 2 on the surface, and gently press it into the surface, making sure part of it is still exposed.  If you have long-fiber sphagnum moss (not ground peat moss), sprinkle some on the surface. 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 don't have the moss, sprinkle some of your soil mix around the seeds.  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 over the seeds every day to keep the seeds moist.

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 66 to 76 degrees F (19-24C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 78 F (26C) for prolonged periods.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.

 A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun. 

 They should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  Increase air ventilation slightly after sprouting to prevent rot, but continue keeping the soil surface moist for 2-3 weeks after sprouting.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- This Impatiens prefers bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid prolonged direct sun while they are young, unless it's early-morning sun.

Fertilizing -- For the first month, it's best to give weekly feedings of a  very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is perfect for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  Once they are 1 month old, you may switch to a granular fertilizer if you wish.  Use one that contains micronutrients, and follow the dosage on the package.

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 -- Impatiens sakerana comes from cool cloudforests with temperatures in the 70s or slightly above (25-27C).  I have no information on whether it can take warmer temperatures, so consider it experimental in areas that regularly get above 85 degrees F (29C), particularly if nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  It has handled winter lows in the mid-30s here (2C), although i don't think it can survive freezing temperatures.

 Above about 40% humidity is best.  If your indoor humidity gets too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at home improvement stores and thrift shops.

 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.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs.  Start with insecticidal soap spray before using stronger remedies.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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