Sow the seeds in an artificial soil mix (such as Jiffy Mix) about 1/8” deep. Keep the flat covered in a warm place until the seedlings have emerged. You should get at least 75 percent germination. After three to four weeks transplant into small pots. Keep under grow lights or in a well lit area. Transplants grow quickly; pinch back to keep a well rounded shape. Cuttings can easily be rooted to get more plants.
I sow these seeds indoors early in the fall, so that I have compact 4-inch plants by the holidays. The plants are excellent hostess gifts because it’s something you grew instead of something you purchased. I grow a different color each year in case my previous year’s gift has survived. Try growing Polka Dot plants, and I believe you’ll see why it’s one of my favorites.
Master Gardener Plant Sale
The Master Gardener Plant Sale is now underway at the Extension Office. The following plants are for sale at excellent prices: Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Grapes and Horseradish. Several varieties of each of the fruit plants are available. Order by March 14 for pickup in early April. The sale benefits the Haywood County Master Gardener Volunteer Association, which funds worthwhile horticultural projects around the county. Call 828.456.3575 for additional information, or drop by the Extension Office in Raccoon Road to pick up an order form.
Jim Janke is a Master Gardener Volunteer in Haywood County. © 2008 NC State University.