Flowers from seeds

I'm pretty good at growing tomatoes and other vegetables from seed, using grow lights and heating pads, but flowers are always a big problem. I can get them to sprout, but very seldom can get any decent survivors to plant out in the garden or patio. They are more delicate and require more attention, but what can I do to insure more productivity of these flower seeds? I am buying good quality seeds from places like Thomson & Morgan. Some of the more exotic flowers never even come up.
Sherwin D.
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Too many variables for a simple answer.
- Describe the growing conditions for your seed starting activities. Light, temperature, etc.
- There are what...a million kinds of flowers? You can't say "They are more delicate...." or anything else about them without providing the names of the plants. Marigold seedlings are pretty tough. Impatiens, portulaca and wax begonias require more care. Whattya got?
- Exotic generally means "Not a lot of people grow them", and sometimes, there's a reason for that.
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Sorry for not being more specific, but I have planted so many different varieties of flower seeds in the past that I've lost track of what they were.
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

I thought I explained grow lights and heating pads. The lights are kept very close to the seed bed, and the pads are adjusted to the temperatures recommended on
the seed packets. I can get most of them past the germination stage, but getting them transplanted into bigger containers and/or moving them outside is the bigger challenge. I sometimes use a cold frame to adjust them to the outside environment, but that does not cure the problem. I do not have a good sun lit window in the house to get them better established inside, so I am trying to get them to grow outside, as soon as possible. Although many of the seedlings are recommended for direct sunlight, maybe I should keep them in more of a shaded place until they get better established?

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First of all, once the seeds sprout, turn off the heating pads. Plants don't want warm roots, for the most part. As far as transplanting, you don't say when you actually do this. I generally leave seedlings in their 6-packs until the pots are almost filled with roots. This prevents one type of problem: Soil ball falling apart when you take it out of the pot, which puts mechanical stress on the roots, and sometimes the stem, if it's delicate enough. This may not be the best solution, but the opposite's a mess: Losing 80% of the soil and having to handle the roots too much.
The other issue is how to duplicate the life cycle of the plant as closely as possible. Some seedlings grow in the shade of the parent plant. Some grow in direct sunlight. Some seem bulletproof, like portulaca. I think you need to do more reading about each individual variety. Library time.
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slowly after they reach about one inch high. I'm not sure what is stunting their growth, but I'm reluctant to move them outside when they are that small.
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- Are these growing in your basement?
- Do you have a gas furnace? If yes, how far from plants?
- Any source of air circulation?
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Crawl Space.

Yes, it is on the main floor. There are forced air ducts running through the crawl space.

There are some air vents in the crawl space to the outside air.
I'm not sure where you are going with this, however keep in mind that my vegetables grow profusely. It is only the flowers that get stunted.
Sherwin D.
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My questions relate to something called damping off, a fungal disease that causes the stems of small seedlings to rot. One day, they look fine. The next, they turn brown and die, within a matter of hours. It can be prevented by providing some air circulation, like a fan on a timer. Also raising the room temperature can help.
Furnace: My old one would produce a very slight smell of natural gas, when it first turned on, if I recall correctly. One year, I moved my plant table to a spot near the furnace. Small plants died with no apparent reason. I mentioned it to someone at a farm supply store where I bought my seeds, and learned that gas will kill some plants, even in tiny amounts. Moved the plants, problem gone. The furnace was replaced shortly thereafter.
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Sherwin Just some random thoughts re your problem: Most vegies are annuals with big robust seeds Annual flowers also seem to have large seeds Annuals (veg and flowers) grow quickly and easily so that they can accomplish what they have to do in a short time Many perennials have very tiny seeds and when they germinate, they have tiny roots and tiny stems. It's difficult to care for them: too little water and the tiny roots die too much water and the tiny stems rot!! too cold and they shrivel, too hot and they dry up Many per. also have strange germination times: from a week to a year or more........ Some need stratification; some need scarification--oh my So it's probably not you. We all are lucky to get **any per. to grow. I now buy most of my perennials as plants!!!
Keep trying Emilie
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