Transplanting Your Annual Flower Seedlings
Generally speaking, most annuals are sown too thickly and are not transplanted or thinned out soon enough. This becomes apparent by tall, leggy, crowded seedlings that will be disappointing, and perhaps sickly, adult plants.
When the first true leaves appear the plants should be carefully lifted and transplanted, especially if sown in a flat with many other seeds. Please do not confuse the cotyledons, which are generally two rounded embryonic leaves that appear first, with the true leaves. Each annual flower seedling develops best when given plenty of soil and air and proper light. Experience teaches us the proper spacing each type of flower requires and there are listings available to give guidance on this point.
Difficult to Transplant
Some annuals, which do not stand transplanting well, should be thinned. It takes a brave gardener, especially someone new to gardening, to pull the surplus young hopefuls. It also takes an optimistic mind to believe that the remaining seedlings will ever occupy the space recommended for the flower type. The Pea-like and Poppy-like annuals and those with long, unbranched roots are the ones most difficult to transplant. The following reference list of such sorts will be useful in determining a few of these types:
Eschscholtzia (California poppy)
Vines (most annual sorts)
These annuals are better sown in individual pots with three or four seeds in each pot. When the seeds germinate, all but one of the seedlings should be removed. Wait for the first set of true leaves and then determine which seedling is the strongest looking, usually by the thicker stem and better coloring. Pinch back all the others at soil level.
Part two covering “How and When to Transplant” will be posted to the website tomorrow. Check Flower Garden Lovers to see when it is posted.