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The actual sowing is governed by the same rules as for outdoor sowing. Scatter flat seeds - such as those of lilies, hippeastrum, and grevilleas- thinly and evenly over the soil or other medium, and press each seed gently on one side with a pencil or pointed stick to set it on edge. This ensures better germination than if the seeds are allowed to lie flat. Afterwards, gently cover the seeds with fine, sandy soil or with the soil substitute that is being used, to a depth about twice that of the diameter of the seed, and firm the surface lightly. Extremely fine, dust-like seeds, such as those of begonias and lobelias, may be merely pressed into the surface without any covering of soil or soil substitute.
All seeds sown indoors should be sown thinly. Overcrowded seedlings (or those in cold, wet soil, such as heavy clay) are prone to "damping-off". Any seedlings that are allowed to become thin and drawn are apt to succumb to this fungus disease, which is also encouraged by a damp atmosphere, lack of light and inadequate circulation of air. Also known as pre-emergence rot, this may be prevented by the use of a pre-emergent fungicide. Spray a little of the dust into the packet of seeds before sowing, and shake it well.
Seed Germination Watch carefully for the appearance of the seedlings and, as soon as they are plainly visible, remove the glass and paper. At this stage, light and, the normal air conditions of the glasshouse
or cold frame are essential.
Avoid draughts because a current of cold air can do a lot of harm and even result in the loss of seedlings. Shade the seedlings from strong sunshine during the hottest part of the day to prevent them from wilting. Unnecessary exclusion of light is harmful and can only result in spindly growth, so make sure that the shade is removed, except in sunshine too strong for the well-being of the young plants.