Growing bedding plants to sell can be a method of increasing your income, particularly if you already are starting and growing plants from seeds for your own garden. Bedding plants, such as impatiens, petunias, geraniums, marigolds and zinneas, are popular with consumers. Before you begin your bedding plant enterprise, you should investigate your market and decide what plants to grow, when you want to sell them, where to sell them, what price to sell them for and how you will grow your bedding plants.
Planting the Seeds
Select good quality seeds for your bedding plants so you will have optimum germination. Using old seeds or seeds you harvested the year before will mean you will need to sow the seeds heavier to ensure that enough seeds germinate.
Fill your seed trays with clean, fresh soilless potting mix. Make sure you smooth out the surface and that the mix is about 1/2 inch from the top of the tray. Water the potting mix so that it is thoroughly moist before you sow your bedding plant seeds.
Sow your bedding plant seeds on the surface of the potting mix, then cover the seeds with a light layer of potting mix, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Gently press down the added potting mix to ensure that your bedding plant seeds are making contact with the mix.
Locate your planted seed trays where the soil mix will warm up and remain warm throughout germination. Most bedding plant seeds require a soil mix temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; lower temperatures will slow germination. If you do not have a consistently warm location, you can place your seed trays on an electric heating pad, on your furnace or on top of your refrigerator.
Refer to your seed packages for the exact requirements for your sown bedding plants. Some seeds need a period of cold, while others may need to be placed in a dark location while germinating.
Water your seeds in your seed trays by adding water to the bottom catch tray and not watering from the top. Watering the top of the potting mix will disrupt the germinating seeds. Also, be sure to use warm water so you keep the soil warm. Watering with cool or cold water will cool the potting mix and seeds, slowing germination.
Move your seed trays to a warm, sunny location, such as a bright window, as soon as you see the seeds have sprouted from the potting mix. If you do not have a location that can provide 8 to 10 hours a day of bright sunlight for your seedlings, you can place your seed trays under grow lights for 14 to 18 hours a day.
Transplanting the Seedlings
Thin your seedlings when they are about 1 inch high, so the planted seedlings are 1 to 1 1/2 inch apart. You need to have some space between your small bedding plant seedlings so the roots do not get tangled or damaged when you transplant the seedlings.
Fill individual small pots (3- or 4-inch diameter), 4 or 6 paks or peat pots with clean general potting soil or the soilless mix.
Use an unsharpened pencil or wooden craft stick to carefully lift and uproot your bedding plant seedlings when your seedlings have their first true leaves. The true leaves are usually the second set of leaves the seedling develops. With the same pencil or stick, make a hole in your planting pots for your dug-up seedling, then carefully transplant each seedling into the pot.
Water your newly transplanted bedding plant seedling with warm water as soon as it is planted. Thereafter, allow the potting soil to slightly dry out between waterings. Overwatering young, tender plants is a major cause of diseased or dying plants.
Place your transplanted seedlings in a location that receives 8 to 10 hours of sunlight a day or use a grow light 4 to 6 inches over your transplanted, potted bedding plants for 12 to 18 hours a day.
Fertilize your transplanted seedlings using diluted liquid fertilizer after your seedlings have been in their individual pots for a month. If you have planted your seedlings into soilless mix, apply a weak, diluted fertilizer every time you water your seedlings.
About this Author
At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.