Q We built a bench in our basement and hung fluorescent lights over it so we can start some of our own plants from seeds. Among those we would like to grow are hardy primroses. We have a large space for them beside our patio, and ready-grown plants are quite expensive. How long will it take to get blooming plants from seeds? Also, what temperature do we need to have for good germination? R.F. Columbia, Mo. Hardy primroses germinate best at a constant 60 degrees F., and it will take three to four weeks for seedlings to appear.
Use one of the peat-like mixes from a garden store and subirrigate to keep the soil moist. Glass or clear plastic placed over the top helps hold moisture in. Transplants grow best at 45 to 50 degrees F., since they are cool-weather lovers. Warmer than this, buds will form on short stems under the foilage. Do not cover the seeds, since they need light to germinate. Hardy primulas require approximately 21 weeks from seed to blooming plants.
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Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists.