Growing houseplant seeds can be a rewarding way to experience a wide variety of houseplants that you may not be able to find locally. With so many unique varieties of houseplants from around the world, why limit yourself to just a few common ones? You will find countless varieties to enjoy no matter what your specific interests may be.
Advantages of Houseplant Seeds
There are probably as many reasons to grow houseplants from seeds as there are gardeners. However, most will agree on two main advantages.
One advantage is that your cost per plant will be significantly lower when you grow from seeds than when you purchase an already established plant. Just make a simple comparison. A packet of houseplant seeds may range from $2 to $4 for about 10 seeds. A single houseplant can cost at least that. Often more exotic varieties cost considerably more.
If you are wondering what you are going to do with 10 of the same type of houseplant, realize that you don't have to use the entire packet. You may have friends who also enjoy using houseplant seeds and are willing to trade varieties.
Also consider selling your overflow. If you successfully grow all 10 seeds in a packet, you can keep one or two and sell the rest through a local garden club, a newspaper ad or even at a yard sale. Houseplants make nice gifts as well.
There is truly an amazing variety of plants that can be successfully grown indoors. You are probably used to seeing the same ordinary varieties at your local nursery along with a few common tropical varieties. However, if you love houseplants, you will be excited to find the wide variety available to you by growing houseplant seeds.
Just a few of the many types of seeds you can grow include:
- Tropical plants
- Fragrant flowers
How to Grow from Seeds
Whichever houseplant seeds you decide to start with, they will likely have instructions for you to follow. Germination of seeds has a few variances depending on the type of seed you are working with, however here are a few basics to keep in mind.
Most seeds will germinate better if they are soaked first. Depending on the hardness of the seeds, the soak time can range from a few hours to up to 48 hours. You will see better results if you use warm water to soak your seeds.
For seeds with very hard outer coverings, you may need to try scarification first. This involves roughing up the outer surface of the seed to make it easier for the seedling to sprout. Some very hard seeds, like tree seeds, can literally take years for a new plant to break through unless you scarify it first.
To do this you can scrape the surface with sandpaper or very carefully cut the outer shell of the seeds. If you do decide to cut into the seed, take care not to cut too deeply or you will damage the developing plant.
Houseplant seeds will germinate best in a moist, light potting mixture that is typically a mixture of peat moss and perlite. There may be other elements added as well. You can usually find a good commercial mixture designed for starting seeds at any home center or nursery. The key is using a light mixture that will allow the emerging seedling to get to the surface easily.
Most varieties of seeds like to have soil temperatures in the range of 70 to 80 degrees. It is also a good idea to have a grow light fixture to provide 10 to 12 hours of light each day.
Once planted, keep your seeds moist but not soggy. Consider covering your seeds with plastic to conserve warmth and moisture. If you are starting your seeds in a flat designed for this purpose, it will usually come with a plastic lid to protect your seeds until they germinate.
New seedling need nutrients so be sure to use a water soluble fertilizer that is diluted to about one fourth of full strength. As the plants mature they can gradually be given a stronger solution until you are giving them full strength fertilizer.
Zipper Bag Germination
A simple mini-greenhouse for germination houseplant seeds can be made with a zipper bag. Start by placing moist peat moss inside of a zipper bag. Be sure the peat moss is squeezed dry so it is just moist. If it is too wet it will harbor mold which will ruin your seeds.Next, put a few seeds on top of the peat moss. The bag can be closed and put in a sunny window. If you place the bag out side, be sure it is in filtered light or your seeds will get cooked in the bag.
Keep an eye on the bag to be sure there is no mold growth. When seeds have sprouted they can be transplanted to pots or tray and covered with plastic until the seedlings get stronger.
Here's a good place to find a variety of unique houseplant seeds: