How to Grow Houseplants from Seed
By far the most common question we get is, “Ok, so I have my seeds, now what do I do?”
It can seem a little intimidating at first, sure, but I promise it’s not as difficult as you may think! Your seeds will need 3 things in order to germinate, listed in order of importance:
Sometimes you can even skip one and they’ll still do fine. They don’t necessarily need light to germinate, you’ll sometimes see if your seeds have extra moisture wherever you’re storing them they’ll sprout and start their growth, they just won’t get as far without light once they start to put out leaves.
Edit: Moisture is probably the most important of the 3. It’s critical to make sure these seeds get a consistent level of moisture, not too much and not too little. Warmth is an important factor given these are tropical varieties and they grow in warm environments, which you’ll want to replicate as best as possible. Finally light is the least important and with most of these seeds, they don’t even need a light source to germinate. Not too surprising considering the poor access to light most of these have in their natural environments!
Luckily you don’t have to go out, get a grow light, heating pad and misting system. My favorite simple system to use is a plastic fruit container(you know, the ones you get from cherries or grapes), fill them up with moist well-draining potting mix, plant the seeds, and then close the lid. From there, I’ll put these indoors under a grow light or just by a bright window. The container will keep the seeds both moist and relatively warm, so all you really need to do is check on the seeds and see if they’re getting enough moisture.
Edit: Another great option is to use a regular 3-4” nursery pot. You can fit between 1-3 seeds per pot, depending on the variety, and then place a ziploc bag over the top of the nursery pot to help keep the humidity high. Make sure to keep the seeds in a warm spot, the temperature depends on the seed variety, but usually somewhere in the range of 75-85F is ideal. Finally, make sure to keep the seeds out of direct sunlight!
Once the seedlings are starting to produce their second set of leaves, you can remove the ziploc bag covering and start misting the plants for humidity.
Important side note: Certain varieties like Philodendron Selloum or Schefflera Arboricola need a little more work to germinate. Specifically, you’ll want to pre-soak them for 12-24hrs in hot water before planting in order to aid germination.
Another method you can try out with your seeds is to wrap some up in a wet paper towel that you place into a ziploc bag and monitor for germination activity before planting them in soil.
How quickly do the seeds germinate?
You’ll usually be able to see germination within the first 2 weeks, some may even take a little longer depending on the conditions they’re in and take up to a month. But that’s just germination, which entails the seed starting to root and put out growth. The roots come first so you may not see those, and only see the first leaves start to show in a month once the roots already grew in a bit.
Quick note: not all your seeds will sprout. Unfortunately, some seeds are duds. At Plantflix, our seeds are batch tested by our grower to ensure that the majority of the seeds are healthy. Even so there’ll always be the one or two seeds that may look healthy but are actually duds. We’ll usually pitch in an extra seed or two in your order to compensate for any bad seeds you may have in the mix :)
Edit: Some of the fastest seeds to sprout include Hypoestes Phyllostachya(Polka Dot Plants), which can sprout within a couple of days of planting, and some of the slowest include Philodendron Selloum(Philodendron Hope), which can take up to 40 days to sprout.
How much room should you give the seeds?
You don’t want the seeds competing for space too much, so give them 2-3 inches of space around them when you plant them. This does depend on if and when you plant on transplanting them. If you prefer to plant them and just leave them in their container for a while, give each seed(unless it’s a smaller plant like a polka dot plant) a small nursery pot to itself. Otherwise, give them 2-3 inches of space, let them grow there for a few weeks and then transplant them once the seedlings are a little larger and more hardy.
Storing the seeds:
If you want to keep the seeds for a little while before you plant them, you can! Just keep them in a cool, dark place(maybe even in a box in your fridge).
That’s about it!
It’s pretty simple, and the best way to see if to try out growing some houseplants from seed for yourself :) We’ve got a few different indoor plant seed varieties in our store, check them out! One of the best things about growing from seed is being able to experiment and see what works, so have fun and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions whatsoever!
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