How to Sow Seeds Indoors

Tender plants and half-hardy annuals and perennials are started indoors, since they need artificial warmth or frost-free conditions. The seeds of most hardy plants can be sown indoors too, if you want closer control of germination and early growth.

Soil Over Seeds

Soil Over Seeds

When sowing seeds, sift a shallow layer of soil over the seeds if they need darkness for germination. Label with the variety and date of sowing.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 1: Fill Pot to the Brim

Fill to the Brim

Fill to the Brim

When sowing seeds in pots, fill container to the brim with potting mix. Tap it lightly on the work surface to settle the contents and level off any excess.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fill the container to the brim with potting mix. Tap it lightly on the work surface to settle the contents, and level off any excess. Firm to 1⁄2 in (1 cm) below the rim to eliminate air pockets. Use a presser of wood or plywood or the base of another pot.

Step 2: Sprinkle Seeds

Sprinkle Seeds

Sprinkle Seeds

When sowing seeds, use thumb and forefinger to sprinkle seeds on soil. Never sow direct from the packet.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pour some of the seeds into the palm of one hand, and use finger and thumb of the other to sprinkle them over the surface. Never sow direct from the packet, as it is hard to shake seed out evenly, and seedlings are likely to end up in overcrowded patches.

Step 3: Soil Over Seeds

Soil Over Seeds

Soil Over Seeds

When sowing seeds, sift a shallow layer of soil over the seeds if they need darkness for germination. Label with the variety and date of sowing.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sift a shallow layer of soil over the seeds if they need darkness for germination. Fine seeds needing light, such as begonias, can be pressed gently into the surface or covered with a thin layer of vermiculite. Label with the variety and date of sowing.

Step 4: Water from Below

Water from Below

Water from Below

Once seeds are planted, water from below by standing the pot in shallow water until moist patches appear at the surface.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water from below by standing the pot in shallow water until moist patches appear at the surface. Drain and cover with a clear polythene bag, or enclose in a propagator. Keep at the recommended temperature and out of direct sun; cold nights or very hot days can cause failure.

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