Created on: November 12, 2012 Last Updated: February 28, 2013
For a seed to sprout, or a cutting to take root, the environment in which it grows is so important. Light, humidity, temperature, and water of course, are all essential factors of this environment. When planning the delicate endeavor of spouting seeds or propagating cuttings for the garden, or window sill, the necessity of an indoor germination station cannot be overlooked.
An indoor germination station can be built many different ways, or bought, and can be as simple two cups propped together placed at the window to a complex manufactured station designed specifically for this purpose. Whether you choose to simply make your own, use a tray and dome, or purchase a top of the line germination station, the following tips and advice may come in useful.
Keep things clean!
The most important advice to growing plants in an indoor germination station is how important it is to keep everything clean! However you choose to design your germination area, always keep the area sanitary and environment inside clean, making sure to wash hands and tools before working with the plants.
The temperature and humidity necessary to sprout new roots is also the perfect temperature and humidity for breeding mold and bacteria. Within hours, a whole tray could be taken over if contaminated. Walls or lid of the area should be sanitized prior to use, and all traces of cleaner or chemicals removed. The growing medium chosen should also be sanitized prior to use. Once the germination station is in use, any diseased plant material and debris should always be removed immediately.
Check on the station regularly
The germination station should be checked at least once a day, twice once the root tips are visible. If care is necessary, the lid should be removed and any debris removed. Growing medium should be monitored for suitable moisture and the lid of the station given a quick spray to wash away the old condensation. Excess water can then be shaken from the dome lid and placed back on to the germination station. If condensation is visible on the lid of the station, and the plant material looks to be fine the station needs only to be opened once per day to exchange the air.
A mister is your best friend
Plants inside a germination station breathe differently than other plants, as they rely on the moisture to breathe. If it is necessary to remove the lid of the station, a gentle, light misting should be given to the plants after removing the lid or the leaves will quickly depend to curl or droop depending on the plant.
Once germination has occurred and bright white root tips are visible in the growing medium, it is time to bring the new plant out into the natural environment. This can take time and considerable patience, but within a day or two the new plant should be ready to leave the germination station. To properly harden off a new plant, the lid of the germination station must be propped open periodically throughout the first day and given a gentle misting. If foliage shows any signs of drooping or turning under, the station should be misted and resealed till the plant returns to its original state. Once the plant has rooted and has been properly hardened off, the plant is then ready to transplant.
Every gardener has their own set of tricks in their tool pouch. These tips are only a few pieces of advice to growing and starting successful plants in an indoor germination station.
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