This will be my first post; hopefully I included enough information from the get-go. Not sure if I'm asking too much for one question, but I assume growing a plant may require a couple paragraphs at most.

We're in North Carolina. Summers are hot (usually 85 - 95°F/ 29-35°C) and humid. Winters dip below freezing at night, but not by much - we rarely have to turn the water off and such.

One or two years ago, we planted some ginkgo seeds in a pot outside, and of the 5-6, one took root and became a baby plant. I was not present for the vast majority of its life, and no one brought it inside for the winter. It died. However, I know how cool gingko trees can be, and the seeds were inexpensive so we're going to try again. This time, I want the sapling to make it, and at the very least I want to provide instructions for its care even if I cannot physically be there all the time.

My questions, then, shall be:
1. Starting from the seed stage, what exactly do I need to do in order to ensure its survival during the critical beginning stages? (i.e. amount of water, how many seeds to a pot, size & type of pot, houseplant beginnings or outside, amount of sunlight, special soils, etc.)

2. Once its reached sapling stage, how can I improve its quality of life? (i.e. when to move it out of a pot and outside, what temperatures to look out for that may kill it once its outside, does its watering regimen stay the same, potential pests, etc.)


1 Answer 1


This might entail an number of questions but to get you started; only use sterilized potting soil from a bag in any pot for any plant.

To start seeds, start in the tiniest pot possible; 1"X2" for germination. In potting soil only. Keep the surface of the soil around the seed moist continually without soaking the entire pot of soil until after germination. I use a spray bottle to water until the second set of leaves are produced. No fertilizer. Hole in bottom of pot and only potting soil.

Using a plastic dome or saran wrap helps keep the moisture more constant with less watering. Too little water and usually too much water will kill the germinating seed. Temperature of the soil?

Germinate them out of doors if you plan to grow them out of doors. A more sure way is to grow in a grow room with artificial light (18/6 not 24 hours) and once the second/third leaf sets show and/or the roots peek out from the drain holes it is time to up pot them from 1X2 to 3X4 in potting soil. Once the plants have roots peeking through the holes or just pop the plant out and look at the roots, then if you want them out of doors you need to acclimate those starts to the sun. We've got lots of information on how to do that or I'll just tell you if this makes sense to you.

One seed per pot to germinate 'starts'. Begin with one seed per 1" wide by 2" deep 'pot' or a section of a germinating seed tray. Do not over water, use a sprayer to keep the top of the soil around the seed moist. I would also use a plastic dome so that water is more consistent without once being allowed to dry out which will kill germinating seeds. Too wet of soil because there aren't enough roots sucking up and using the water will also be a quick and sure death. Be careful with plastic domes under artificial light with halogen, sodium vapor, the LEDs are far better. Plastic domes under full sunlight will fry your plants.

Just enough water not too much. Constant moisture but not too much. I don't water my 1"X2" seed starter cells fully until after the second set of leaves.

Once you transplant your 1X2 starts into 3X4" pots with potting soil then you need to add fertilizer. Chemicals the plant needs to do photosynthesis. A balanced fertilizer. N PLUS P PLUS K and hopefully a few micro chemicals as well such as magnesium or iron or boron...Osmocote by Scott's is the only product I will endorse for newbies to use. Extended release and all purpose; 14-14-14. Use half of what is directed in the instructions.

Lasts 4 t 6 months. Do not add any other fertilizer (compost, blood meal, fish emulsion).

One more thing, plants in pots have their most fragile part of their anatomy above the ground which makes the roots susceptible to cold. Plants in pots should not be out of doors in freezing temperatures or almost freezing temperatures.

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