After years of starting and growing seedlings and plantlets in inert media such as perlite and vermiculite, I decided it was time to return to basics and revisit classic seed starting and propagation methods and supplies.
I picked up some Jiffy® 7 peat pellets to start with. These compressed peat discs have been a favorite of outdoor gardeners for years for their ease of use and convenience. The pellets expand when placed in water and grow into a small plug surrounded by bio-degradable netting with a pre-drilled hole for seeds. Gardeners can start seeds indoors under lights and then place the seedling plugs right into the ground when time to transplant after the last frost. Very clean, neat, and convenient.
I soaked several peat pellets in a shallow dish filled with water for about 10 min. while preparing to groom a large African violet collection. With a plant sale on the horizon I wanted to salvage offshoots from several plants before giving them away. As each sucker was removed I simply placed it in the pre-drilled hole of the plug and labeled it. (If you use a Jiffy windowsill garden you can place labels in the tray or affix a label to the side.)
I have found that offshoots or cuttings started in Jiffy pellets root more quickly and develop a stronger root system than those placed in perlite or vermiculite. Lately, I’ve been starting all my seedlings and suckers in peat pellets or peat plugs before transplanting to inorganic media. I think it gives the plants a better start and creates a firmer root foundation.
Front: ‘Lollipop’, ‘Lemon Drop’ suckers, ‘Wee Be’
Middle: three ‘Mini Minx’ plants
Back: two ‘Mini Minx’ plants on wicks in perlite-vermiculite mix