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Old May 11, 2007   #1
shelleybean
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Default Four O'clocks

Hi. I've planted two packets of seed for Four O'clocks and have had very spotty germination. I've never allowed the soil to dry out and the two packets were from two different, but reliable, sources. Since they reseed themselves so readily, I was really surprised to have this problem. Has anyone successfully started them indoors under lights and then moved them outside? I also can't remember if this is a variety that does better if soaked overnight before planting, though none of the seed packets made any mention of that. Thanks for your advice.
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Old May 11, 2007   #2
Alberta
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Michele
They can be direct sown, winter sown, started indoors under lights but then have to be hardend off. Surprisingly, this year I have seeds coming up where I had 4 O'clocks last season, they must have dropped, but I usually collect as many of the seeds as I can. Sonme people actually dig the tubers up in the fall, and store them indoors over the winter, and then replant them. I haven't tried that yet though. If you need seeds, contact me through the PM system here with your address and I can get seeds out to you. Before I forget, when did you plant the seeds?
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Old May 11, 2007   #3
honu
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Shelley, Nancy Bubel's book, "The New Seed Starter's Handbook" says, "Days to germination: 10 to 12 days at 75 deg F to 80 deg F....Plant seeds in the garden after frost or four to six weeks early indoors."
I don't start under lights, but I did start them in plastic cups in the carport and transplanted to 3 gal pots. I soaked my seed in Maxicrop seaweed solution overnight before planting, but still had spotty and slow germination (about 3 weeks). My dear friend who gave me those seeds said hers reseed easily, and she ends up pulling them like weeds, so didn't know why mine took so long. However, looking back on my notes, it could be that I experimented and added coir (may not have been aged enough, and I later found the coir caused problems in other plants) to the starting mix. That was over 2 years ago, and I still have a pretty magenta one that's been growing, dying, and coming back in the same pot ever since. I'm not sure if it's from reseeding or from tubers. I do notice, it gets some kind of leaf disease when it rains a lot, then dies, but another healthy shoot reliably comes up to replace it. I read this is a drought tolerant plant, and responds well to good drainage. I still have some seeds, so if you'd like to try, PM me and I'll send you some.
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Old May 12, 2007   #4
shelleybean
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Thanks, Alberta and Honu. I still have two full packets of seed so I'm good with that, thanks. I planted these three to four weeks ago. I had four o'clocks at my last house and planted only once and they reseeded and came back each year. If I can just get them going once, I doubt I'll ever have to plant again. It's just this first time that's giving me trouble. I'm relieved to hear others have had spotty/slow germination. I guess I'll give these another week and if I don't see any new seedlings, I'll soak some more seed and plant around the few I already have. I still have one grow light set up in the dining room so I guess I could try that as well. Thanks for the replies!
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