• Botanical Bazaar Gold Coast Gardening

How to Grow Plants from Seed

How to Grow Plants from Seed

Learning to grow plants from seed is by far the most common way of obtaining new plants. It is also one of the most rewarding. There is just something imminently satisfying about growing a plant that one has started from seed!

Here are some steps to follow when learning to grow plants from seeds.

Obtain Fresh, High Quality Seeds

The older the seeds, the less vigor they usually have. The older the seed, the lower the percentage of germination. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule for how long seeds stay viable. Every species is different.

It also depends upon how the seeds were stored in the first place.

Storage of Seeds

If the seeds were kept cool and dry, then most vegetables will be viable for 3 to 4 years; however, onions and beetroots are usually good for only a couple of years. Tomatoes, capsicum, watermelons, cucumbers, and rockmelon can remain viable for 5 years or more.

Most flower seed can be stored for approximately 3 years under certain conditions. A good rule of thumb is that every 3° C decrease in the storage temperature (all the way down to freezing) can double the storage life of your seed. However, once you get below freezing, it can be a mixed bag, depending on whether the seeds are more native to the tropics than the temperate zone. For that reason, it makes sense not to store seeds in the freezer unless they are native to the temperate zone.

Several experts suggest that gardeners keep their seeds in the refrigerator, and make sure that they are in moisture-proof containers. The moisture-proof part is important, because for every 1% decrease in seed moisture content, seed storage life doubles. Of course, it is possible to avoid the entire issue of seed storage by simply buying no more than you will actually use, but that is easier said than done!

Vegetables are usually easier to start than flowers, partly because so many flowering plants have such small seeds.

Native temperate climate plant seeds (such as wildflowers) often require, or a least do better with, a chilling period that mimics winter enough to break the seeds’ dormancy. Six weeks in temperatures below 5° C usually does the trick.

Quite a few tropical plants have their own set of problems when it comes to growing them from seed. They often have only a short period of viability before they lose their ability to germinate, so getting fresh seed is especially important in such cases. To make the challenge even greater, sometimes tropical plant seeds take months to germinate, or require extremely specific care.

Germinating the Seed

To germinate seeds, you must create the proper environment. A seed starting area can be located anywhere that has moderate temperatures, light, and good ventilation.

Here is a list of what is necessary for good germination.

Disease-free soil and pots

Disease causes poor germination. Diseases can lurk in old, dirty pots. Most gardeners reuse pots, but if you are going to do that, wash them thoroughly with some dish detergent and a little bleach. Old potting soil or garden soil can also host diseases. You can sterilize the soil in your oven before you use it, or you can simply start your seedlings in brand new soil from the store.

Germinating seeds usually require constant moisture

Keep the soil moist but not dripping wet. Don’t let the soil dry out, even once, because that could kill your germinating seedlings. If your tap water is extremely cold, you can hasten germination by using warm water. Gently mist the soil with a spray, much like a light gentle rain, or the seeds might be blasted out altogether. Once they germinate, your seedlings won’t need quite so much water.

Seedlings need air to germinate

Make sure you don’t constantly saturate the soil. Any container in which you start seeds should have a drainage hole in the bottom.

Getting the temperature right

Although plants vary in their temperature requirements, most seeds have trouble germinating when the soil temperature is below 10° C. A temperature of 18° C to 21° C is ideal for germinating most seeds. Heat mats are a good way to warm up the soil without changing the temperature of your entire indoor space.

Getting the light right

While most seeds don’t need light to germinate, some, like lettuce, do. Check the instructions on the seed packet or in the catalogue. Seeds that need light should be planted shallowly, in a well-lit area. Once all seeds have germinated, they will all need light. There are many different setups available for indoor plant lighting, just make sure that the bulbs are full spectrum. For best results, always place the light 5 to 8 centimeters over the soil during germination, then over the emerged plants.

Why depth is important

A good rule of thumb is to place seeds at a depth 2 to 3 times their width. Any deeper, and they may run out of energy before they reach the surface. Be extra careful that seeds you plant shallowly don’t dry out.

The importance of nutrition

Little or no fertilizer is required to germinate seeds. In fact, too much nitrogen can be a major problem in very young plants. When in doubt, leave it out.



  • Alan’s fantastic Watersaver Gardens will be displayed at the Gold Coast Gardening Expo. Be at his stall at 11.00am to be in the free draw to win two of these great Watersaver Garden Kits.
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  • One of our botanical bikes out and about on the Gold Coast. You can spot this one at @currumbinrsl 
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  • Our site at @thekitchensrobina has a new addition! Check out this stunning Brazilian Bell growing within a hardwood planter created by @ecoplayscapes 
Plus the 5m wood fence sign was designed and made by the super talented @naturesquareddesign who specialises in small space garden design. 
You can see work created by both @ecoplayscapes and @naturesquareddesign at the @botanicalbazaar September 3rd at Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang 
TIP: bring a car with a BIG boot! Or maybe a trailer!
  • Pluckdamus Designs is Queenslands master dabbler in exotic fruit designs, creating uniquely stunning handcrafted wearable art. 🍍🍊
@botanicalbazaar @pluckdamusdesigns  #goldcoast #gardening #australia #garden #lifestyleLearn
#flowers #blooms #art #artist
  • Thank you to 94.1FM Gold Coast Radio, one of our amazing sponsors of Botanical Bazaar 2017. 🎼 Community radio station sponsoring the live music by Mattie Barker and Mick McHugh. .
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  • We are still swooning over this gorgeous skirt made by @flowersbyjuliarose and the corset made by @racyandlucky 
Oh and the stunning flowers from @redlandsfreshflowersbne 
You can see more of Julia's work at the Bazaar or why not prebook one of her workshops she is holding at the event! Link in profile 
  • Julia Rose is a celebrated floral artist with an international reputation for her sumptuous organic and naturally eclectic designs.
Julia-Rose will be holding two private botanical workshops at the Botanical Bazaar. Tickets to the workshops can be purchased here http://botanicalbazaar.com.au/tickets/
@botanicalbazaar @flowersbyjuliarose #goldcoast #gardening #australia #garden #lifestyleLearn
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  • Based on a timeless philosophy of simplicity and authenticity, Wild Leaf Botanicals is a range of handmade natural skincare showcasing Australian native botanicals and essential oils.🌼 @wildleafbotanicals .
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  • To celebrate the event being on the first Sunday in Spring, we are opening a Garden Bar complete with cocktail options from @ink_gin atopped with certified organic edible flowers from @byronbayorganicflowerfarm 🍸🍻🍾🌸
#edibleflowers #goldcoastevent #gardeningjustgotbetter

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