If you want to get an early start on spring, one way is to plant salvia seeds indoors. When spring arrives, the young plants will be ready for transplant in your flower bed. Easy to grow, salvias look lovely in cut flower bouquets. The long-stemmed beauties from any of 700 varieties provide a riot of colour to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your yard all summer.
Fill the seed planting trays or pots with the seed starter potting soil. The trays should be full with the soil piled higher in the middle. This will provide better air circulation, which will prevent damp-off, a fungal disease that can kill seedlings.
Plant the salvia seeds. The soil should cover the seeds by a depth of no more than 1/10 inch. Plant sparingly, leaving at least 1/2 inch between each seed.
Water the salvia seeds by spraying them lightly with a mister. They can also be watered from the bottom, but they shouldn't be watered in a way that will dislodge the tiny seeds. The soil should just be moist, not wet.
Put the seeds where the temperature will be between 23.8 and 29.4 degrees C. Cover them with cling film.
Remove the cling film as soon as the salvia seeds germinate and put the trays in a sunny, slightly cooler place. Make sure the area is well ventilated. If you live in a humid area, place a fan turned on low near the seedlings for a few hours each day.
Transplant the seedlings into your flower bed when you're sure there is no danger of frost. The plants should be at least 10 inches apart, depending on the species.
You can plant salvia seeds in cottage cheese or margarine containers, but be sure to wash them with a bleach solution first to kill any bacteria. Use commercial seed starting mix, which has been sterilised to kill bacteria. It also has the right amount of fertiliser for seedlings.