Instructions For Seeds Sold In Packets - Indoors:
The best method for planting any seed sold in packets by seed count (Ie. Irish Moss – 5,000 Seeds) is to start the seed indoors for transplanting: If spring planting, sow seeds indoors in late winter, 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting outdoors in the spring (after danger of any frost and night time temperatures are in the upper 40's or warmer). Use shallow trays filled to the top with good top soil or potting soil. Sprinkle seed over the trays (can mix seed with sand to accomplish this) and gently press seed into soil. Lightly cover with peat moss to help retain moisture (you should still be able to see the seed through the peat moss). Bottom water or mist spray and try not to let the seed dry out. Keep trays at a consistent temperature according to what the seed packet specifies. Before transplanting into the bed, harden the plants for 10 - 14 days in a protected area outside. Transplant, use a light application of liquid fertilizer or starter fertilizer and water well.
Instructions For Seeds Sold In Packets - Outdoors:
You may sow seeds directly outdoors; however, this must be done with caution if planting the seeds sold in packets. These seeds are very tiny and a hard rainfall, planting too deep, soil pH, not keeping the seed moist, and other environmental factors may hinder success. Please follow these steps for best success:
- Select a site that has good drainage and provides the amount of sun or shade needed. Raising the bed 2 - 4 inches above the original ground level will be helpful with drainage. Beds that provide good drainage are important as many ground covers do not do well with “wet feet,” and the poor drainage will cause rotting. Do not till the soil unless you plan on waiting about two months to plant so you can kill off all the weeds and grasses that will come up due to tilling.
- Prepare the seed bed by removing all weeds either with herbicides or pulling manually (preferred).
- Once the seed bed is prepared, spread a 1 - 2” layer of seed starting soil over the bed.
- Spread the seed over the desired planting area. Many of the seeds for ground cover are very tiny, and it is helpful to mix a seed packet with very fine sand or lime (if not using Shake n' Seed). This gives you more matter to spread over the desired area. If you are needing to sow between stones, using a parmesan cheese can is a good way of controlling where the seed/sand mixture goes, and it allows you to get into the small crevices.
- Use a light dusting of the potting soil or peat moss over the top of the seed, but do not cover more than the thickness of the seed with soil (follow packet instructions regarding planting depth). If using peat moss, you should still be able to see the seed through the peat moss. Tiny seed will NOT germinate if planted too deep!
- Moisten the seed bed with a fine spray mist or water weeping type hose and maintain the moisture until the seed has sprouted. This step is crucial. If planting outdoors in the hot summer months, watering once or twice a day is not good enough. You may need to water 4 or 5 times a day to keep the seed bed moist. Using water timers is a great way to accomplish this which you can purchase at any home improvement store. You can set the water timer to come on every couple of hours just for 2 minutes or so (depends on your soil) and it will keep the seed moist all day long. At night time the seed will stay moist so this is not necessary if you have it water once after it is dark. Ensure mist spraying as to not wash the seed away or cause it to be buried too deep.
- It is recommended to weed the bed as the seedlings grow as well as using a liquid fertilizer like our 3-18-18. Liquid Soil Aerator is also recommended for retaining soil moisture, adding organic matter to the soil, adding beneficial microbes, and keeping the soil friable.
- To ensure best planting, make sure you plant when it is warm outside. If spring planting, frost season should be well over and night time temps staying in the upper 40's or warmer (see packet directions for specific planting temperatures). If late summer planting, make sure you have 8 - 10 weeks before frost season begins. You can not plant ground cover seed in late fall/winter unless you are in a completely frost free zone.
Instructions For Shake 'n Seed - Outdoors: Using Shake 'n Seed (seed starting matrix: rich soil, gardening sand, water absorbing crystals, and starter fertilizer) helps minimize the risk planting outdoors. Shake 'n Seed, provides you with more substance to work with, in addition to help the soil retain water provides nutrients for the young sprouts to feed upon. It provides a dispersal mechanism for the planting the seed. If planning on planting ground cover seed directly outdoors, please consider the Shake 'n Seed option. To plant Shake 'n Seed, follow steps 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 from "Seed Sold in Packet - Outdoors." You do not need to worry about steps 4 and 5 (except for spreading the seed) since the seed is already mixed with our seed starting matrix and will help cover the seed as well. Your bottle will also come with complete planting instructions on the label.
For care and maintenance of ground covers, go to our flower seed resources page. Each ground cover seed is listed on this page.