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Why didn't my Cleome come up? Seed germination and light

When I was a new gardener I could not understand why my cleome didn’t germinate. Everyone else always had fields of it, an exaggeration, but it seemed as if they did compared to my bare patch. As I found out, cleome needs to be sown at the last frost date, when nights are still cool and days warm up nicely, for they are half-hardy annuals. And they should never be covered, just pressed into the soil, as they need light to germinate.

Different seeds need to be sown at different depths. A traditional approach to sowing depth is to plant a seed at a depth that is three times its thickness. So, a larger seed, such as a bean, would be planted about one or two inches deep, whereas tiny seeds, such as those of poppies or tobacco, should barely be covered, if at all. If disturbance is a concern, particularly when watering, press in and cover these types of seeds with a very thin layer of horticultural vermiculite, which will allow light to filter through.

The seed embryo is a living breathi…

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