The subtleties and secrets of growing ageratum from seeds
Ageratum is a beautiful plant covered with large inflorescences of delicate lilac, purple, pink or snow-white color. Ageratum from seeds can be grown almost anywhere – on a windowsill or balcony, in a flower bed, in a garden or a greenhouse. Ease of cultivation and unpretentious care, a large number of varieties, colors and a long flowering time have provided the ageratum with wide popularity among many florists and landscape designers..
Botanical features of ageratum
Ageratum is a small perennial plant from the Asteraceae class. Under natural conditions, this plant is found in the countries of North and Central America, as well as Asia. In Russia, this ornamental plant is most often grown as an annual, as it does not tolerate minimal frosts..
- Bushes are compact, densely pubescent, up to 20-65 cm high, depending on the variety.
- Bushes covered with branched stems, raised or erect, abundantly covered with small leaves.
- Ageratum leaves are diamond-shaped, or heart-shaped, with serrated or torn edges of the leaf plates.
- Flowers are not large in size – up to 1-3 cm, collected in neat inflorescences. They form a kind of umbrella up to 8-12cm in girth.
- Depending on the variety, flowers can be colored turquoise, purple, blue-blue, snow-white, coral or lilac..
- Ageratum is distinguished by long flowering – it begins in the first half of June and lasts until October.
There are more than 60 varieties of ornamental plants. In Russia, for growing ageratum from seeds, the most commonly used varieties are “Gaustona”, “Mexican”, “Artist Blue”, “Fields”, “Tycoon”, “Bavaria”, “Northern Lights”, “Blue Fairy Tale”, “Ocean” and “Pink ball”.
Ageratum from seeds – optimal planting dates
When growing ageratum from seeds, it is necessary to take into account the optimal planting dates, focusing on the climatic conditions of each specific region. In most cases, planting takes place from mid-March to the second half of April..
When to plant ageratum for seedlings:
- Crimea, Stavropol Territory, Krasnodar Territory – from March 15-18;
- Moscow and the Moscow region – March 15-30;
- Moscow suburbs and regions of central Russia – from March 20 to April 10;
- Leningrad Region, St. Petersburg, Siberia, Ural – after April 12-15.
Planting ageratum with seeds too early will lead to the fact that young seedlings will suffer from lack of sunlight, weakness and lethargy.
Growing ageratum from seeds
Growing ageratum flowers from seeds is not difficult, but it requires taking into account the basic rules and subtleties. To get strong and healthy seedlings, you need to properly prepare the soil and seed, and be sure to take into account the appropriate timing for planting a decorative perennial.
For sowing ageratum with seeds, it is best to use a loose, fertile and fairly light soil with good air permeability, neutral or slightly acidic reaction.
The best option would be a mixture made from humus, coarse sand and peat in equal parts. A nutritious substrate for ageratum can be made in another way, by mixing vermiculite with peat and garden soil in a ratio of 1: 4: 4.
To grow the plant, you can use the universal soil for flower seedlings. Before use, it should be disinfected by calcining in a microwave oven or oven. After that, the substrate must be treated with a weak solution of fungicide or potassium permanganate and frozen.
Seed preparation and container selection
Ageratum can be sown on seedlings without preliminary preparation, but it allows you to improve germination, getting stronger and healthier seedlings. To do this, the seeds must be soaked in a solution of a growth stimulant drug – these include Epin, Energen, Zircon.
Seed Ageratum seedlings grow best in a general, wide and shallow container. Its height should be no more than 8-10 cm – this is quite enough for the root system of the plant..
Small drainage holes must be made in the bottom of the container. They help to remove excess fluid and prevent moisture stagnation in the soil, which can cause dangerous fungal diseases and root rot..
Planting ageratum seeds step by step
The process of sowing ageratum seeds is very simple and will not cause difficulties even for a novice grower..
Step-by-step seed sowing technique:
- Pour a drainage layer on the bottom of the selected container – it can be perlite, expanded clay, broken brick. Its thickness should be no more than 2 cm.
- Pour potting soil into the container, level it evenly so that there are no voids and 2-3 cm remains to the edge of the container.
- Spray the soil liberally with a spray bottle. Use settled water at room temperature.
- Sow ageratum seeds – they are very small, so it is more convenient to use tweezers for planting.
- There should be a distance of about 1 cm between the seeds..
- Press the seeds gently to the surface of the soil. Moreover, they cannot be deeply buried in the soil or sprinkled on top..
Spray the seed container after planting. For this purpose, it is better to use a spray bottle, as water from a watering can can simply wash off small seeds..
After that, cover the container with ageratum with a plastic lid or plastic wrap and place it in a warm room with an air temperature of at least + 23 ° С.
Care of ageratum seedlings
Ageratum seeds germination period is 8-10 days, in some cases it can reach 2 weeks. During this time, crops require daily ventilation and systematic soil moisture..
To ventilate the container, remove the lid or plastic wrap and leave for half an hour. Greenhouse conditions should be maintained until emergence and then removed. Ageratum seedlings need regular moisture. Drying and high moisture content of the soil must not be allowed..
After the emergence of young shoots, the container with the plant must be placed in a well-lit place – on the windowsill, balcony.
For full growth and development, ageratum requires 13-hour daylight hours, so in cloudy weather, you can use additional lighting for the flower.
When to dive ageratum depends on the growth rate of the plant. The optimal time for a dive is when 2 real, healthy and well-developed leaves appear on the sprouts.
In order not to cause severe stress to young seedlings, it is best to dive in cloudy weather, in the early morning or late evening. Basic picking rules:
- moisten the soil abundantly 2-3 hours before the procedure;
- pour nutrient substrate into new containers or other containers;
- make a small indentation in the center;
- place a seedling in this depression along with a clod of earth;
- lightly press the soil around the seedling and water.
7-10 days after picking, you can feed with complex mineral fertilizers for decorative flowers – Aquarin, Agricola or Fertika Lux are suitable for this..
Open ground transplant
For planting ageratum, it is best to choose well, evenly lit areas, protected from wind and drafts. The plant can be planted under the walls of various buildings or along the fence.
It is possible to transplant ageratum from seeds into open soil only after the risk of recurrent frosts has passed. The air temperature should be at a level not lower than + 23 ° С and + 7 ° С at night. The optimal time for most regions is the second half of May or early June.
Dig up the soil beforehand, loosen it up and apply complex mineral fertilizer. It can be replaced with organic fertilizers such as ash or compost. Ageratum is best planted by transshipment, trying not to injure the fragile root system. The distance between the seedlings should be 20-25 cm.
If there is a sharp drop in temperature at night, it is better to cover young seedlings with a layer of polyethylene or agrofibre.
Ageratum is a beautiful perennial plant, the cultivation of which does not require much effort and time. With a minimum of effort, it will become a luxurious decoration of any windowsill or personal plot and will delight with long, lush flowering..