Garden Republic's Guide to Planting and Growing Herbal Tea Seeds

July 15, 2021

Garden Republic's Guide to Planting and Growing  Herbal Tea Seeds

It's tea time! Ok maybe not just yet, but it's plant-your-tea-seeds time! If you're reading this, you've purchased or were gifted our Herbal Tea Grow Kit and are wondering how to get the best seed germination! Whether you're starting a garden for the first time, or an avid green thumb that wants to learn some new tricks and tips, we are here to help you have the best seed-sprouting success!

We've put together some of our favorite handy tricks and seed-specific advice to get you sipping on a lovely cup of tea as soon as possible! You can view our Herbal Tea Recipe Ebook Here. 

 

If you have 4-variety Herbal Tea Grow Kit you will need:

  • Sunlight/Grow Light
  • Bowl
  • Warm water
  • Paper towel
  • low-dose plant food ( such as Superthrive)
  • Water Can and/or spray bottle

 If you have our 10-variety Herbal Tea Seed Set you will need: 

  • Seed starting Specific soil (not garden soil, potting soil, etc)
  • 3" starter pots
  • Sunlight/Grow Light
  • Bowl
  • Warm water
  • Paper towel
  • low-dose plant food ( such as Superthrive)
  • Water Can and/or spray bottle

Know Your Seeds Needs:
Hold your horses! We know you're excited to start planting your seeds, but before you begin to do so, take a peek at each seed variety below, as they have important seed-specific recommendations for better germination and sprout growth! 

Lavender

  • Place your lavender seedlings on a tray in your fridge for 1–2 days to help the “hardening off” process, which gradually exposes tender plants to sunlight, wind, and uneven temperatures. 
  • Now, it’s planting time! Place seeds on top of prepared soil and sprinkle a tablespoon of soil evenly over the seeds to cover them.
  • Indoors or outdoors, your Lavender likes to soak up the sun. If growing indoors, place your pot under strong sunlight. 
  • Your soil should be damp, never wet! Sometimes a slight difference makes all the difference.
  • Lavender likes its soil at a constant 70°F (21°C) temperature.
  • You should see sprouts in 14 days, if not, don’t worry! Keep taking care of your lavender, and it will grow. 
  • When the plant has developed into a bushy-form, you can select as many as two bunches. Never take more than 25% of the overall foliage off at once. 

Chamomile

  • Soak your Chamomile in cool water for 12 hours before planting. Pro tip: pour the water through a coffee filter afterward, for easier access to the seeds.
  • Chamomile is a shallow-rooted plant, so plant seeds shallow. Sprinkle only a teaspoon of soil over them to very lightly cover them.
  • Place the pot in an area with enough light that you can easily read a book.
  • Chamomile can thrive in dry environments, so we recommend misting instead of watering. Watering may cause the seeds to sink too far into the soil. 
  • Chamomile can withstand a range of temperatures, with the optimum range being between 85°F (29°C) during the day and 65°F (18°C) at night. 
  • Sprouts should pop in about 14 days. If not, scratch the topsoil slightly to help bring lost seeds to the surface. 
  • You can start harvesting your chamomile plant as soon as it builds six sets of 6” leaves. Harvest blossoms by snipping them off when they’re fully open.

Peppermint

  • Soak your peppermint in cool water for 12 hours before planting. Pro tip: pour the water through a coffee filter afterward, for easier access to the seeds.
  • Keep your seedlings close to the surface, since peppermint has a minimal root system. A teaspoon of soil is all they need to cover them. 
  • These guys need moisture — mist a few times a day. Still dry? Place your plant pot in a Ziploc bag under direct sunlight for a couple of days. The miniature boggy eco-system will encourage sprouts.
  • Mint prefers temperatures between 55°F and 70°F (13-21ºC). If growing indoors, move them off the windowsill at night. 
  • You’ll see sprouts in 14 days. Make sure to keep them damp and happy so that they continue to grow!
  • Allow your pot to fill out completely before starting to harvest. After that, you can pick off up to 25% of your peppermint plant at a time.

Lemon Balm

  • Lemon balm seeds need a 12 hour soak to soften up their seed casing before planting. 
  • Make sure you plant your lemon balm seedlings within the top 1/4” of soil. Fill your pot with soil first, then remove a tablespoon of the soil to cover your seeds with. 
  • Provide them with a strong light source for as close to 8 hours a day as possible.
  • Once you get your first sprouts of lemon balm growing, don’t be shy with the water! 
  • Keep the pots in an area where the temperature will not vary drastically from day to night time. Try to keep them as constantly close to 70 degrees as possible.
  • You should see tiny leaves emerge from the soil within 7-10 days. 
  • To get the best flavor out of lemon balm, shear it with scissors, cutting it down by half or more, at least once a month, depending on how fast your plant grows. 

Catnip

  • Give your catnip seedlings an overnight chill in your freezer, then soak them in a warm bowl of water for 24 hours. This will mimic a natural freeze/thaw cycle and help them to “harden off.”
  • Place the seeds directly on top of your prepared soil and sprinkle a teaspoon of soil over the seeds to “plant” them. Placing them in a hole may cause them to sink too deep into the soil. 
  • Provide your catnip seedlings with a strong light source, as close to 8 hours a day as possible.
  • Catnip is a distant relative to mint, which thrives in cool, moist spots. Like mint, it enjoys a soil that feels damp, but never soaking wet.
  • Your catnip will be happiest at a room temperature of 70°F (21°C). 
  • Catnip seedlings take up to 14 days to sprout their tails. If they don’t pop up after 14 days, try moving them to a warmer location.
  • You can harvest large cuttings of catnip at a time, just make sure you never take more than 25% of the entire plant at once. 

Cinnamon Basil

  • Make sure you soak your cinnamon basil seedling for a full 24 hours before planting, or until you see they develop a gray haze around each seed.
  • ONLY plant three to five seeds per pot. Place your seeds at a relatively shallow depth of ¼”, if you plant Cinnamon Basil too deeply, they can rot before they ever sprout. 
  • Provide ample sunshine, at least 8 hours a day. 
  • Keep your soil damp until the first sprouts appear, then you can water as needed.
  • Keep your soil temperature at 70°F (21°C). Basil is very cold sensitive and fluctuations in soil temperature can cause it to not sprout.
  • You should see your first sprouts in 2 weeks. If you’re having trouble getting your cinnamon basil to sprout, try easing up on your watering regimen and provide it with a more intense light source to match cinnamon basil’s deliciously intense flavor!
  • Pinch basil leaves from the top to promote bushy growth and to prevent the plant from going to seed. Although the leaves towards the bottom will look larger and more alluring, the fresh shoots towards the top are the most flavorful.

Dandelion

  • Growing dandelions in a controlled environment is a little trickier than just blowing away a dandelion puff. Advance the sprouting process by placing your seeds in the fridge for 2 days before planting. 
  • To make the most out of your dandelion seedlings, cover them in a light blanket of soil at no more than ¼”. 
  • Dandelions need almost 10 hours of light, so plant your dandelion seedlings in a garden bed that gets direct sunlight or crank up your grow lamp. 
  • Daily misting and damp (not soaked!) soil will keep your dandelions in good shape. 
  • Dandelions can take up to 21 days to sprout, but once they pop, they don’t stop! 
  • Your dandelions can be used for almost anything and harvested at any time! Pluck the leaves for spring salads, the flowers for wine, or pull the whole plant up and use the roots as an elixir. 

Echinacea

  • Get your echinacea off to a running start by placing them in your fridge for 2 days before planting. 
  • After the cold treatment, plant your seedlings in warm soil at a depth of ⅛”. 
  • Since echinacea is native prairie flowers, they need as much sunlight as you can throw at them — up to 12 hours. If using a grow lamp, crank up the light. 
  • Keep the soil moist, but slightly on the damp side. Echinacea is delicate, so be sure not to overwater your plant. 
  • Echinacea seedlings come up naturally in late May when the soil temperature reaches 65°F (18°C). Whether growing indoors or directly into your flower bed, try to keep the soil at a constant temperature of 65°-70°F (18°-21°C) to promote rapid germination. 
  • Sprouting may take anywhere from 10 to 20 days, and your echinacea’s first shoots will look very spindly. Don’t forget to place those fresh shoots in an area that gets tons of sunlight! Without sunlight, the sprouts will struggle to develop. 
  • As soon as your echinacea sets buds, you’ll be able to use the leaves for any elixir. Once it flowers, you can enjoy the seeds and petals as well! 

Fennel

  • Fennel seedlings are almost as thick as fennel stalks and require a preliminary 2 day soak in cool water to help break down naturally occurring pre-emergent properties. 
  • After their soak, plant your seeds at a depth of ½”. Fennel enjoys well-draining soil, so make sure your seed soil isn’t too compacted or boggy. Add perlite if necessary! 
  • Like other herbs, fennel’s a sun-loving plant, so grow or place your fennel where it can receive at least 6-8 hours of light. 
  • Keep your soil damp until the fennel seedlings pop up. Once they sprout, your fennel can tolerate slightly drier soil. Too-wet soil can lead to bulb and seed-rot.
  • Keep your soil at a temperature between 60°-70°F (16°-21°C) and you’ll keep your fennel happy and healthy! 
  • Fennel seeds can sprout in up to 14 days. If no sprouts appear, try moving them to a brighter location.
  • All parts of fennel are useful, with the foliage being best for teas and potions. Wait until each frond grows up to 6” before pinching them off as needed. 

Marjoram

  • Before planting, soak your marjoram seeds in cool water for 12 hours. This will help soften the seed casing and help them sprout more rapidly. 
  • Since marjoram seedlings are relatively weak sprouters, they must be planted at a shallow depth with ⅛” of loose soil covering. 
  • Marjoram loves full-sun. Establish yours in a sun-facing area or pot under direct sunlight.
  • Keep your soil damp until your seeds sprout! Once developed, marjoram can tolerate more sporadic watering. 
  • Not too hot and not too cold, marjoram thrives at a temperature between 65°-70°F (18°-21°C). 
  • Marjoram seeds take up to 21 days to sprout due to their woody habit, but once they get growing, they take off like wildfire. Their sprouts will oftentimes pop up right after you’re ready to give up on them! 
  • A little marjoram goes a long way. Pick as many pieces as you need. When marjoram is happy, it will grow back quite quickly. But never take more than 50% off the total foliage at once.

Sowing the Seeds:

  • You'll want to start by soaking your seeds. An overnight soak in warm water will do for most varieties, but if they have any specific requirements mentioned above, please follow them. 
  • After soaking, you'll want to plant them immediately, so have the pots prepared with soil right beforehand and have the soil thoroughly moisten. Most seeds don't want to be planted deeper than 1/8" unless it says otherwise above. 
  • Since the pot's soil should already be pre-moistened, you just need to do a light watering, just enough to get that top layer of soil wet. Be careful not to water-aggressively. More than a gentle sprinkle/mist can dislodge and drive the seeds too deep in the soil. 
  • Keep the seeds warm! Check the back of each seed packet or the above seed information for each variety's desired soil temperature. A constant soil temperature is going to be critical to optimum sprouting and soil health. Although a heating mat is not necessary for getting your herbs to sprout, it may be incredibly helpful in circumstances where your temperature is going to fluctuate due to light exposure (such and a sunny window). They do not need hot soil, but rather a soil that stays constant, as they would experience if they were planted in the earth. The earth is a magnificent insulator and works to keep the soil at a constant temperature, pots are not! Keep your pot placement away from any drafty windows, and you should be just fine!
  • Check your plants daily and make sure you keep the soil moist, never let them dry out!

 My seeds have sprouted!

Light
As soon as your seeds have sprouted, they will need lots of light to continue to grow past the cotyledon stage! If you're using an LED grow light, you'll need to make sure that it runs for at least 10 hours a day. If you're using a conventional "bulb-type" grow light, you can run it from 8-10 hours. Failure to supply your sprouts with enough sunshine will deprive them of their primary source of energy. If you're relying on the light of the sun to get your sprouts to thrive, be prepared for temperamental little plant babies on cloudy days. 

*tip

If you are using a windowsill/natural sunlight to grow your sprouts, rotate the pots daily to help them grow straight and not leaning to one side!

 

Water
 Monitor the average hydration of the soil, and make sure it stays damp but not soaking. Soaking wet soil can lead to rotten seeds, mold, and other undesirable soil conditions. All soils are different, so never rely on watering every day or on certain days. The water requirements for sprouts can vary from day to day, depending on their growth rate!

Plant food
Once your sprouts have developed their second set of leaves, they'll be getting hungry. It's time for plant food! A water-based, low-dose organic plant food is the best route to go, as this will reach the roots the easiest. 

Thinning out your sprouts:
For the strongest, healthiest sprouts, you'll want just one seedling per pot or cell.  Thinning is challenging for many gardeners; who wants to destroy sprouts you've worked so hard to grow?! But it has to be done. Select the strongest, healthiest seedling and use a pair of scissors to snip off the others at the soil line. You can try to transplant the extras into different pots, but you risk disturbing the roots too much and killing them all!

 Replanting/Transplanting your sprouts
Although it can be super tempting, give your sprouts time to grow before putting them in a larger pot or in the ground. Replanting too soon can disturb the tender roots and kill your sprout. You can read our guide on when and how to transplant here. 

If you have questions at any point about the sowing, growing, and caring process, don't hesitate to reach out! We are here to help and love to help new gardeners achieve optimum success with our seeds! We care! our email is wecare@shopgardenrepublic.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram

Happy Tea Planting ( and future sipping)!

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