Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 32 replies

You know you've got problems when you cannot grow something from seed.


This my second attempt at growing some perenial flowers from seed, and this attempt is turning out the same as the first.  The seeds begin to sprout and then they go mouldy/furry and die!!!

This is how i've gone about things so far. I've sown the seeds lightly in compost, lightly watered them and then covered the tray with cling film and kept them at room temperature in the dining room.  Growth seems to happen quite quickly but so does the mould/white fur and the subsequent death.

This time i've taken off the cling film once i've seen some shoots coming up as some where dying off at this point.  Maybe with the cling film it was creating a very humid environment for them.......?

Now i've taken the cling film off the soil seems to dry very quickly. How much water do the seeds need at this point?


Any guidance and help would be appreicated as i clearly cannot get the basics right. 



Which perennials is the question?-they may be too warm-a lot will germinate quite happily outside with no heat-you may be spoiling them and they cant cope.

So types?

The first attempts were himalayan poppies.

this time round they are Salvia - Blaze of fire - sow indoors 18-24 degrees C


makes sure you give the seed tray a very good clean out each time or the fungus will just keep cumming back


When I'm watering seedlings I use a handheld spray bottle. I set to fine mist and spray until top surface of compost is moist, usually first thing morning. I check on the trays twice a day and if need be, water at tea-time. But NEVER at night.

This trick has always worked and at times I've had 50 or more trays going at any one time.


Yeah, my hand did get achy. hahaha



The salvias are a half-hardy annual so do need heat-perhaps you are sowing too thickly-and as has been suggested the trays are not clean enough

Is it fresh compost?

Try a light covering of vermiculite rather than compost-remove any covering at the first sign of germination and water from the bottom

Works for me

Hello Bagz It might be a good idea to invest in a small propagator - they are very inexpensive.
This is how I sow my seeds
I use clean pots or trays ,fill the trays with seed compost and press down lightly with another pot or tray. I then water the pot using a fine rose on my watering can.
Then I sprinkle the seeds on top and cover with vermiculite and spray with water to dampen it. Put the propagator somewhere light and warm and hopefully the seeds will germinate after a few days. Don't water the pots/trays - they shouldn't need it but if the vermiculite looks dry spray lightly with water.
I hope this helps .
Himalayan poppies are not the easiest seeds to germinate
Pam LL x

The level of light has not been mentioned; once the plants push through the soil they need light. I have this vision of a gloomy dining room with heating on... and the furry stuff would thrive.

I tend to water from the base, stand seed tray with perforated base in solid seed tray and pour water into base: no water gets onto the plants.

Perhaps you are not taking the cling film off soon enough? Perhaps they are 'damping off'?

Perhaps some photos would help? I must confess I haven't planted any seeds yet; I'm waiting for just a little warmth in the air.


Have to agree that watering from base is a good tip. Have had fairly good results with seed but your query about the light also a good point Artjak, and using a spray also a great idea as it's easy to be a bit heavy handed with the water even when careful. Good luck Bagz - don't give up! Perhaps try a couple of different methods as suggested and see which works best for you, then take a note for future reference on a calendar or noteboook. If all else fails - shout at 'em!

I had this problem with late season cuttings. Went through most of winter of but now showing heavy signs of rot on some plants or has killed them off completely!

I sow into single modules and keep them on a south facing window. I spray them twice a day, once before work and then again after work. I always have pretty good results as long as I turn the trays regularly.

Personally, I like using the jiffy 7 pellets, and a cheap window propogator - you can get one from Amazon for around a tenner.  The big and medium seeds you push into the moistened pellet (they swell when you add water), the smaller ones you sprinkle on top.  The great thing about those, is you can remove individual pellets when seeds germinate, pop them straight into a bigger pot, and grow them on ielsewhere  - light levels are very important, you can always tell a gardener's house, as windowsills are always full of germinating seedlings at a certain time of year.

Using vermiculite is a good idea, it stops seedlings getting too wet, whilst stopping them drying out too quickly.

hollie hock

Don't give up Bagz. if it were me, I wouldn't use cling film maybe use a propagator that gives a firm base to put the tray in and has a plastic hood. Wilkos do a good set for about £3.

I now always water from the base but only enough till I see the soil getting damp.  Little seeds don't need a lot of water, they don't have big root systems so it's easy for them to get wet and sodden and damp off.


Bagz, you say you sow them in compost, make sure it's seed compost as normal compost has to many nutrients for seedlings, the mould and fur sounds like some kind of botrytis, caused by the humidity, maybe try putting the tray in a clear plastic bag when you see condensation on the bag open it and let some air circulate..


Some good points in all the above, but have to agree totally with Percy-Grower.  Monty and Carol Klein both swear by the plastic bag method, and always make sure it's seed compost.  Keep them warm but not too hot and dry and always water from the bottom to make sure the seed is not disturbed or washed out of the compost completely.  Good luck, I'm sure you'l have success soon.


Try easier seeds untill you get more experience.
Impressed by the advice givn to you.

Are you using Thompson and Morgan seeds, they seem to think every single seed needs to go in a plastic bag, they sweat and the seeds stay to damp, who puts plastic bags over ererything in their garden and seeds set themselves well. Of course, some do benefit from a proagator, but T & M seem to think everything needs a bag.

Bunny ...

I start off indoors and in pots or trays , seed compost , pressed down, seeds on , slight cover of compost sometimes then top with grit , into a tray of water to water from underneath until grit is dampened then leave. I dont cover with polythene as found same problem as you. I saw Carol Klein do this and have done it ever since and works every time for me.

Keep trying , you will find your way.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and knowledge.


I think i may be able to salvage some of these.  Ive binned the cling film, let the soil dry out a bit and am spraying them with a mist as and when needed.  i've also moved them to a south facing window for what sun we are getting at the moment.  Already i can see a difference and one or two shoots are now up to a cm tall.


Now i'm starting the learn the basics!!! so thanks again everyone.


Be warned there will be more questions to come

Bunny ...
Great to hear bagz ...just keep asking