Look Close – No, Closer!

When a bean seed germinates, you can’t miss it. The large seedling is obvious to anyone with eyes to see.

That isn’t the case when you’re growing begonias. When I was checking on my pot of “Big Rose” begonias (named for their flowers and not their seeds!), it struck me how small these seedlings are. I’ve been growing plants for a long time and am pretty good at seeing when there’s growth. But these begonias are straining my eyes to their limit. (The pictures on this post have a dime next to the seedlings to provide some perspective on their size.)

Begonia Seedling

Begonia Seedling

Begonia seeds are tiny, little more than specks of dust. When I start small seeds like these that can’t be covered with soil, I keep the pot covered with plastic until they start to grow. This provides humidity that makes sure the seeds have the moisture they need to germinate. Once they’ve started to grow I remove the plastic in order to get some air flow around the seedlings to prevent any fungal growth. It took a lot of close inspection to see when the begonias had started to grow.

Begonia Seedlings

Begonia Seedlings

When I look at these tiny seedlings, I’m amazed. In those little seeds that I sowed were fully formed embryos that are able to grow into a plant. Also, that speck of a begonia seed had enough carbohydrate, lipid and protein in it to nourish the embryo until it could start photosynthesising on its own. And from that little seed will grow a begonia plant that will become a foot-high mound of leaves and flowers.

I find seed germination a true miracle. And the tinier the seeds are, the bigger the miracle is!

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2 responses to “Look Close – No, Closer!

  1. Great pictures of such tiny plants!

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