As I’ve written about in the past, I enjoy watching plants grow. I particularly enjoy watching them develop into maturity from a teeny tiny baby plant stage. That’s why usually, if the option is there, I prefer buying smaller versions of the plants I want, and why I love propagation so much.
It’s also why I thought I’d try my hand at growing something from seed.
This decision has some back story. It began, I suppose, a couple years ago, when my dad and I were at our favorite greenhouse, browsing their section of tropical fruiting trees. I was going through a phase where literally the only thing I ever wanted to drink was a gin and tonic, so I thought it would be pretty cool to have access to lemons straight off the branch!
But, since neither of us were feeling particularly adept at keeping plants indoors (at the time) and because the nursery carried only well established, and therefore fairly expensive trees, I didn’t quite feel up to the gamble of spending the money on something I might kill.
Fast forward to fall of 2018. My houseplant obsession was well under way, and as the summer waned I was looking for more plant related media to appease my interests. On the Ledge is a podcast by Jane Perrone. If you aren’t already a listener, I cannot recommend it enough. Jane is knowledgeable, funny, and just as obsessed with houseplants as the rest of us. She is host to a number of experts who share their experiences with houseplants as well as tips and tricks.
I was binge-listening to the podcast and ran across a topic she called the “On The Ledge sow-along”. It is exactly what it sounds like. In January of that year, she led her listeners on a journey of seed-sowing. The tag #OTLsowalong is where it all went down and houseplant lovers from all over participated in the exciting task of growing plants from seed.
I decided that 2019 was going to be my year. Knowing that I had wanted to try my hand at lemons and also at growing from seed, I trekked out into the wilderness (my local grocer) and purchased an organic meyer lemon.
Now, the internet is riddled with about a thousand different step-by-step tutorials for sowing a lemon seed. I read a bunch of them, averaged out the information, and basically just stuck the damn seed in the soil. Some types of seeds do need drying out before they are planted, and others need a period of cold, so I do recommend doing a little bit of research if you want to sow along too.
I believe it was January 6th that I first planted. In fact I can confirm that it was because I was so excited I wrote about it in my little plant journal. I stuck about 5 seeds in the damp soil in one container, fully expecting most, if not all, to be unsuccessful. I did know the soil needed to be moist, and that to sprout I would need humid and warm conditions. Light wouldn’t play a big part until later, so I put my little pot into a ziplock-bag and placed it on top of a register. Then, I promptly forgot about it, checking on it every once in a while to ensure the soil was still damp.
Fast forward to the beginning of February, a little glimmer of green hope had popped up. It would soon be joined by two others, although they did not make it past that infant stage. Upon further research I think that they died from something called “Damping off” which from the sounds of it means the soil was too wet or the atmosphere too humid.
It is not the end of February and the surviving sprout now has three whole leaves. I’ve placed it in a very sunny window with additional help of a grow light. It has also left its ziplock bag ho
me and is trying its hand at being a big-boy plant with the rest of its distant cousins. I will make an effort to continue to document its progress both through photos on my Instagram (@leavesfordayskw) and via my plant journal and eventually on this blog.
You should also check out the On the Ledge podcast, where Jane talks about her sow-along. If you’re looking for more info on sowing seeds, the Houseplant Masterclass has a section dedicated to growing plants from seed. If you’re interested in investing in your houseplant education, you can check it out here: The Houseplant Masterclass
Thanks for reading! Cheers!