Violet "Teacup Flower"
Germinating the seeds
If you have germinated Begonia seeds before, you may use the same technique that worked for you, since the germination requirements are similar.
Getting started -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best results. Use small pots or cups that are 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) tall. The pots should have drainage holes.
The seeds are tiny, so work in a well-lit area. Fill the pots with soil and sprinkle several seeds evenly across the surface of each pot. An easy way to pick up the seeds is by breathing on your finger tip to lightly moisten it, then dabbing the seeds with it.
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).
For the next few weeks, ensure that the soil surface never dries out. You can maintain high humidity by enclosing the pots in a plastic container or bag - just leave it open a crack to let in fresh air. Once or twice a day, drip a few drops of water on the surface to keep it moist.
The seeds germinate well at about 65-77 degrees F (18-25°C). Avoid letting them get warmer than this. I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.
Place the containers in a bright spot out of direct sun. A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) above them provides the right amount of light.
They should start sprouting within about 3-5 weeks, but can sometimes take longer. After they sprout, continue dripping water on the soil surface for 2 months, since young seedlings have a small root system.
When the seedlings are 2 months old, you may carefully pull them and transplant them, however i recommend simply cutting off any slower ones, and leaving 1 strong seedling in each pot.
Fertilizing -- Feed weekly with a small amount of dilute liquid fertilizer (1/8 strength). Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this). Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.
Watering -- Aim to keep the soil evenly moist (but not constantly soggy). Don't let the soil dry out completely.
Lighting -- The plant likes part sun or bright shade + morning sun. Protect it from strong afternoon sun.
Transplanting -- When the seedlings are 2 months old, repot to a larger container about 1 quart (1 liter) in size. Water the soil before repotting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots. Protect from direct sun the first week after repotting.
Climate -- It comes from regions of Chile that are cool all year. It seems happiest between 45 and 80 degrees F (7-27°C), with nights below 65° F (18°C). I don't know if it will thrive if temperatures regularly get above the low 80s (28°C) and nights are warm. Over about 40% humidity is best. If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.
If you have any questions or problems, please email me.
Have fun growing them!
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