The first leaves are called cotyledons.

When to Start Germinating Verbena Tuscany

by Bridget Kelly

“Tuscany” is the marketing name of a series of verbena plants (Verbena x hybrid) that grow 8 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. Tuscany verbena blooms in an array of colors, from white to burgundy to rose and even shades of peach. Grow Tuscany in the garden or put them out of kids’ reach in hanging outdoor baskets. This verbena thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 11.

1. Timing

If properly planted and cared for, the Tuscany verbena seeds send out their first root within one week of planting. It will take another 8 to 10 weeks until the plants are ready to set into the garden. The best way to determine when to start germinating the seeds indoors is to grab a calendar and count 10 weeks back from the last frost date in your area. Perform a zip code search at the National Climatic Data Center’s website to determine the last frost date in your region.

2. Planting

Tuscany verbena seeds require a soil pH between 5.8 and 6.2, which is the same as African violets. You can purchase African violet potting mix at major gardening centers and nurseries. Push the verbena seed into moist soil to a depth twice its width, then cover with a very thin – about 1/8-inch – layer of vermiculite. To keep from disturbing the seeds during germination, use a misting bottle to lightly spritz the vermiculite when it appears dry.

3. Light and Temperature

Although Tuscany verbena doesn’t require light to germinate, the seedling will be stronger if they receive it. Place the seeding unit 6 inches beneath fluorescent grow lights and allow them to remain on during the day. Turn the lights off in the evening when the sun goes down. Tuscany verbena seeds germinate best when the temperature remains at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, both day and night, for the first week. As soon as you notice the plant emerge from the soil, lower the temperature to 68 degrees.

4. Moisture

Enclose the germination container in a plastic bag after planting the seeds. This provides the high level of humidity they require to germinate. As soon as the seedling sheds the seed coat, open the bag and allow air to circulate for one to two days before removing the container from the bag completely. Keep the planting soil moist for the first week after planting the seeds. For the next week, saturate the seedlings, then allow the soil to dry to moist before saturating them again. At the beginning of the third week, saturate the seedlings, then allow the top 1/2 inch of soil to dry before saturating them again. If the area where you are germinating the seeds is naturally humid, place a fan next to the seedlings and allow it to blow across the tops of them.

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