Growing Tips: Schizanthus

Quick Reference:

Annual, a plant that completes it’s life cycle in one season. Cover seed with 1/8 inch fine soil, seed responds to darkness. Seeds germinate in 20 to 30 days at 60 to 65 degrees F. Because they bloom best with root restriction, they are often grown in containers. For garden planting, space plants 12 inches apart. Plant height:18 inches.

When and where to plant:

In Alaska Schizanthus will grow in full sun but prefers partial shade when the weather is hot. Grows best in a moist, rich, fertile loam soil enriched with plant food and organic matter and thrives during Alaska's cool summer. It is recommended that this slow growing plant be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost to assure bloom over a long season. Fill a container that has drainage holes with a sterilized potting soil. The use of sterilized soil is important to help control soil borne diseases because germination is slow. Sprinkle seed on soil surface, cover with fine soil, darkness aids germination, water well for good seed-soil contact. Cover container with black plastic to provide darkness and reduce soil evaporation. Remove the plastic as soon as the seedlings begin to emerge. Provide air movement and water from below to keep the foliage dry. Water seedlings from below by setting the seed container in a tray of water until the soil is moist. When seedlings show their first green leaves water with a liquid solution of plant food and repeat every two weeks. Soon after the seedlings have their first or second set of true leaves transplant to individual plastic pots, it is now safe to water from the top and grow in a sunny area until all danger of frost is past. Schizanthus transplants easily.

Care:

Keep the soil moist, apply plant food before planting and again one month after the plants have been transplanted in the garden.