With a little care and follow-through, gardeners can get a jumpstart on the next gardening season by starting impatient seeds indoors. Impatiens are one of the most common flowers grown indoors from seed, taking six to eight weeks to sprout. Though it requires weeks of nurturing, making the effort to start from scratch offers home growers a rewarding gardening experience.
Choose the germination medium to grow the seeds. Look for mediums that are porous, lightweight and free of disease pathogens. Purchase soil-less mixtures, such as Redi-Earth or Jiffy Mix, available at nurseries or garden centers.
Select a container to grow the seeds and transplants. Purchase cell pots, compressed peat pallets, flat or trays from any garden supplier; or start the seeds in egg cartons, plastic jugs, cut-off milk cartons or paper cups. Use a fork or knife to punch holes in the bottom of the egg carton, plastic jugs, milk cartons or paper cups. This will allow for proper drainage.
Sow the seeds in the container. Fill the container with the germination medium to within 1 inch of the top. Pat the medium down with your hands. Water it thoroughly. Let it drain. Place 2 or 3 seeds per container onto the medium then gently press down. Cover any visible seeds with more medium. Submerge the container in water until the surface is barely wet. Water from below to prevent disturbing the seeds or medium. Allow to drain.
Maintain the proper level of moisture and lighting during germination. Cover the container with plastic food wrap or use clear, plastic domes to cover flats. Place the container where it will receive bright light but not direct sunlight. Strive to maintain a temperature between 70 to 75 degrees for proper growth. Remove the covering once germination occurs.
Transplant each seedling to its own container or cell pack. Fill each container with a well-drained, high-quality potting mix. Place seedling into the container and give it 12 to 16 hours of direct light each day. Use 2 standard 40-watt fluorescent bulbs, one warm white and one cool white in a standard fixture to supply adequate light.
Water the seedlings when the soil is dry to the touch. Apply diluted fertilizer every two weeks only if the seedlings were not planted in a potting mix containing a slow-release fertilizer.