Annual flower from South America and related to petunias. The flamboyant Salpiglossis flower is trumpet-shaped and about 2 inches in width. A vast improvement on open-pollinated strains. Dwarf strain and beautiful colour range. Ideal for the patio in containers, exotic gardens and as cutting flowers.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow salpiglossis indoors 8 weeks before the last frost.
- Sow seed ¼ inch deep in seed starting formula. Be sure to cover and keep away from the light until the seeds germinate, as salpiglossis needs darkness in order to germinate.
- Keep the soil moist at 70-75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 14-30 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Direct sow in full sun in a rich, well-drained soil after danger of frost.
- Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
- Sow seeds evenly and thinly in rows 18 inches apart and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil. Be sure to cover seed entirely as seed needs darkness in order to germinate.
- Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 14-30 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
- Thin to stand about 9-12 inches apart starting when seedlings are 1 inch high.
Transplanting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with a rich, well-drained soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12, inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
- Space plants about 9-12 inches apart.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.