It is now difficult to imagine a flower bed or a backyard without a blooming petunia. In recent years, a real petunia boom has begun - everyone grows it, even those who previously treated them with distrust. After all, modern varieties, in addition to alluring beauty, also have unpretentious cultivation. And growing petunia seedlings on your own is also no longer some kind of super task, which before it was even scary to dream about. And it's good if everything started to work out from the very first time. And the seeds sprout easily and quickly, and the sprouts are strong and healthy, and the leaves open one by one.
But if the seedlings are barely visible, and have already been sitting in the ground for several weeks, they are stretched out, but there is no or almost no progress. Then the thought gradually comes to mind, and how to feed the petunia so that it finally begins to grow and develop. Here it turns out that not everything is as simple as we would like. Before grabbing at the first fertilizers that came to hand, and pouring them on the unfortunate plants, you first need to find out what happens to the petunias.
The basic requirements of petunias at the time of germination
Perhaps in the first place among all the requirements for the care of a petunia is light. Illumination should be as high as possible and around the clock, since the first shoots of petunias appeared. It is thanks to this that the sprouts do not stretch and grow strong and squat. Two weeks after the emergence of shoots, the light can be turned off at night, but the 14-hour daylight hours of petunia seedlings are needed for another one to two months until it blooms.
The second, important factor that must be taken into account so that the seedlings, on the one hand, do not stretch, and on the other hand, develop quickly and well, is the temperature, which should be slightly lowered after the emergence of shoots, but up to certain limits.
Attention! The ideal temperature range for petunias is + 18 ° C to + 22 ° C.
In third place is sufficient moisture in both the soil and the air, which is easily achieved not by watering (it is so easy to get a surprise in the form of a "black leg"), but by creating conditions for a mini-greenhouse at the first stage of growth, when seedlings grow and develop under a transparent cover or a plastic bag. At the same time, regular daily airing of this mini-greenhouse is mandatory.
At the first stage of development, before the appearance of real leaves, and it takes about two weeks, petunia seedlings do not need anything else. Failure to comply with any of the above requirements for care leads to the fact that petunia plants either freeze in growth, or stretch out in strings from a lack of light, trying to fall in different directions.
Advice! If it is not possible to perfectly comply with the above conditions, then you can spray the seedlings with a solution of epin, zircon, HB-101 or another immunostimulant that you can find on sale once a week.
This procedure may look like feeding a petunia seedling and will help the plants overcome the involuntary stress caused by imperfect growing conditions.
It should also be borne in mind that it is for petunias that a very, very slow growth of the aerial part is characteristic in the first month of life, as for many plants with small seeds. It seems that they do not grow at all, but they simply build up a root system that is not visible to the eye.
Why petunia seedlings may not grow
Before answering the question of how to feed petunia seedlings, you need to understand for what other reasons it can inhibit growth.
Often, when using the wrong soil, various problems arise with the cultivation of petunias.
- For example, in acidic soil (pH 3-5.5) or alkaline (pH 7.5 and above), petunia roots will not be able to develop and the plants will soon die. For the successful cultivation of petunia seedlings, a neutral or slightly acidic reaction of the land mixture (pH 5.5 - 7.5) is required.
- In addition, for petunias, especially in the initial stages of growth, a loose, breathable, light soil is vital. On sale, unfortunately, very often there are soils of very poor quality, with a large amount of plant debris, heavy, poorly permeable to water. For petunias at the seedling stage, they are completely unsuitable, the roots in them will not be able to develop, and the seedlings will stop growing. When compiling an earthen mixture, it is better to take half of the standard purchased soil from the store to guarantee, add ¼ part of vermiculite to it for loosening, a little fine coconut fiber and vermicompost. If the earth dries up, turns to stone, and when watering, the water stagnates on the surface, the petunia seedlings urgently need to be transplanted into another soil.
- Another nuisance associated with the unsatisfactory quality of the soil is its possible infection with various pathogens, which can also cause a delay in the development of seedlings. To exclude this moment, it is necessary to sprinkle both the soil and the seedlings twice with a solution of phytosporin or glyocladin with an interval between treatments of 5-7 days.
The answer to the question of how you can feed petunia seedlings before picking can be very simple - nothing. The best option would be to simply transplant it into a fresh, more nutritious mixture, or even better in separate cups or pots, and wait for its further development. When the roots have nowhere else to grow - this is the simplest reason for stunting seedlings in growth and fertilization for petunias, of course, can help, but not for long. In a separate container, in fresh soil, the seedlings should quickly move into growth.
Miracle is an elixir
If you have monitored compliance with all of the above conditions and have done all possible operations, and the state of the petunia seedlings still causes you anxiety, you can try to feed it with ordinary "human" B vitamins.
Oddly enough, they often work better than many specialized herbal preparations.
Advice! You can use vitamins B1, B6 and B12 separately, or you can prepare a complex solution for maximum effectiveness.
To do this, dissolve one ampoule of each of these vitamins in one liter of warm water. If the sprouts are not yet two to three weeks old and they are very tiny, it is better to carefully apply a few drops to each seedling using a syringe or pipette. It is better to sprinkle more mature seedlings with the resulting solution from a spray bottle.
Try using these treatments once a week and soon you will surely see results that will please you.
The main period for feeding seedlings
Petunia is indeed a very voracious plant and must be fertilized for good growth and flowering.
Choosing from the many fertilizers presented to date, the better to feed petunia seedlings for good growth, it is necessary, first of all, to dwell on the so-called liquid complex organo-mineral fertilizers. In stores, especially specialized ones, a very large selection of such fertilizers is presented, the most popular of which are: Uniflor Rost, Agricola, Ideal, Effekton, Gumi Kuznetsova. They are very convenient for use at home, because a certain amount of them, according to the instructions, simply dissolves in water and the petunia seedlings are watered with this solution.
You can also use water-soluble powder fertilizers, the choice of which is very large at the present time, but such brands as Kemira, Kristallon, Plantafol are the most popular among professionals. Among the products of these companies, you can pick up fertilizers with a very different percentage of the main macro and micronutrients.
For the very first feeding of petunias, it is necessary to choose fertilizers in which nitrogen would predominate in content, although phosphorus, which is responsible for the formation of a dense root system, will not be superfluous at this stage either. The third main macronutrient - potassium - is not yet in great demand, since its area of responsibility is the formation of buds, flowers and ovaries, and it will be needed in large quantities a little later. At the initial stage, there may be a little of it in the composition. So, the approximate ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer should be 50% -40% -10%. The presence of such meso-nutrients as calcium and iron in the fertilizer for petunia is very desirable. And, of course, certain trace elements must also be present.
Important! Trace elements in the fertilizer should only be in chelated form. It is chelates that are well absorbed by different parts of plants, in contrast to trace elements in inorganic salts.
What is the main feature when feeding petunias? The fact that she really needs a lot of "food" for good growth and abundant flowering. But at the same time she will like it much more often, but little by little than rarely, and a lot. This means that it is necessary to make the concentration of the nutrient solution 3-4 times less than indicated in the instructions from the fertilizer manufacturer, but water the petunia with this solution almost every other day, that is, instead of water. It is such a feeding regime that petunia will appreciate best.
From about two months of age, petunia seedlings, when it gets stronger and already has enough leaves, you can switch to using fertilizer with NPK composition in the form of 30% -40% -30%.
Advice! It is very important to carry out foliar feeding of petunia seedlings about once a week.
That is, you dilute the fertilizer in a lower concentration than for irrigation, and thoroughly spray the entire aerial part of the seedlings with this solution. In this case, the effect of fertilizers is almost instantaneous, and this method of feeding is especially good if you no longer like something about the growth or development of seedlings.
At the last stage of growing seedlings - in May - both root and foliar feeding with organic fertilizers: potassium humate, biohumus will be very good. They can be alternated with mineral supplements.
All the described methods of feeding petunia seedlings will allow you to grow plants that will delight you with their beauty and abundant flowering until autumn. You just need to remember about feeding and adult petunia bushes throughout the summer.