Hi! I'm a newbie at growing my own plants/flowers/vegetables, etc. I have starter seed cells and my seeds, and I was wondering how many seeds I put in each cell? The packets do not specify. These are flowers (morning glory, chinese lantern, celosia, butterfly flower, sweet william, marigold (dwarf bolero), poppy, snap dragon and cosmos). Anyone have any insight? On some of the packets, it says to separate them 6-8 inches, etc. Does this mean only put one seed per pod?
Typically you only grow one seedling per each little cell in your 36-cell or 64-cell seed-starter kit. You can sometimes get away with separating seedlings at transplanting time if you have three or four per cell, but they are very fragile and you'll lose some to root disturbance or gross physical breakage.
That said, I usually plant 3-4 seeds per cell if my seeds are cheap/common/numerous. That way if some don't germinate I'll still have a plant in every cell. Usually once everything is coming up I'll nip off the extras with my fingernails, so that I've got one (healthiest-looking) seedling per cell.
I don't have a lot of experience with flowers, particularly, but I've been growing herbs and veggies from seed under lights for a while now. I personally start with 5 or 6 seeds per cell, or more if the seeds are tiny and I can't be bothered to separate them more carefully. I start early (beginning/mid February - here in central Maine I won't be planting these into the garden until the end of May at the earliest), and when the plants have a full set of true leaves (the second set to arrive, the first set won't look like the actual leaves of the plant you are growing, but the second set will) I separate them into their own cells for the first pot-up. I will pot them up again before they go out into the garden. It's a bit more work, but I like the extra head start all my plants get from this attention.
Once you get as obsessed as me, the biggest problem is finding enough space for all your trays of seedlings.
Here's a couple of pics of my seedlings at the moment:
My rule is 1 cell 1 seed.
I make my own potting mix, no cost there. The cells and trays are reusable, no cost there. Not all my seed in harvested here so I still have some cost. To keep down my seed cost I want to get the most out of a packet. Thinning never made much sense to me: plant it, then rip them out? My time has value and cannot be replaced. Rather than spend time thinning or pinching off seedlings, I can skip potting up or transplanting the weaklings.
My methods may not work with your setup. I've got plenty of space, warmth and sunshine. I've got room to spare to start extra seeds and use more space.