After years of starting and growing seedlings and plantlets in inert media such as perlite and vermiculite, we decided it was time to return to basics. We’ve been revisiting classic seed starting and propagation methods and supplies, and we’ll be sharing our experiences with you.
We started with the Jiffy® 7 peat pellet. 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.
Jiffy pellets are also used in the Jiffy Windowsill Garden which can be used to start outdoor plants indoors or, as in our case, to grow indoor plants.
We 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 we wanted to salvage offshoots from several plants before giving them away. As each sucker was removed we simply placed it in the pre-drilled hole of the plug and labeled it. (If you use a windowsill garden you can place labels in the tray or affix a label to the side.)
We have found that offshoots started in Jiffy pellets root more quickly and develop a stronger root system than suckers placed in perlite or vermiculite. As a result of this experiment, we have decided to start all our seedlings in peat pellets before transplanting to our preferred inorganic media. We believe this will give the plants a better start and 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