Flowering stocks are one of the more valued flowers for growing in any size flower garden. These annual plants are originally from cooler regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Stocks produce 1-inch-wide flowers that come in a palette of striking colors, including shades of pink, rose, magenta, white, lavender, yellow and blue. They are easy to recognize thanks to their highly aromatic spicy-sweet scent. Growing flowering stock is a relatively simple endeavor if you provide them with good drainage, fertile soil and plenty of light.
Planting Stock Seeds
Put seed compost into plastic planting packs. Use the top of a soda bottle or the back of a spoon to push the compost firmly down into each cell. You can do this about 6 to 8 weeks before the last hard freeze is expected in your growing region.
Set the planting packs into a watering tray. Fill the watering tray with water, and let the compost absorb the water until it is damp to the touch.
Plant 2 to 3 stock seeds into each cell in the planting packs.
Cover the stock seeds with a sprinkling of the seed compost, approximately 1/4 inch.
Set the tray of planting packs near a light-filled window away from direct sunshine. You can also set the tray about 3 to 4 inches away from a fluorescent light. Do a daily inspection of the stock seeds to ensure they are staying moist, but do not allow the seeds to sit in dripping wet compost. Germination of stock seeds will typically being in about 10 to 14 days at a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees F.
Transplant the stock seedlings in about 3 to 4 weeks, as soon as the soil in your garden is soft enough to prepare.
Transplanting and Growing Stock Seedlings
Loosen the soil in the area you want to plant the stock seedlings to a depth of 12 to 16 inches. As you loosen the soil, remove any debris you find, such as rocks, sticks, weeds or roots. Use a shovel, pick or garden fork to work the soil.
Incorporate into the soil 2 to 3 five-gallon buckets full of well-rotted leaf mold, aged steer manure or compost. Using an organic matter will improve the drainage and fertility of the soil.
Dig planting holes for the stock seedlings that will easily accommodate the size of a cell in the planting packs. Measure out the distance from each hole so they are spaced 10 inches apart.
Pop out a stock seedling using your thumb and index finger. Set the seedling into the planting hole. Push soil in and around the seedling, firming it down gently as you proceed.
Measure out a 5-10-5 starter solution fertilizer at the rate of 2 to 3 tbsp. for every 1 gallon of water. Water each stock seedling thoroughly with the solution.