Summary of Conditions:
sow seeds and lightly mist with water
cover with plastic wrap and sub-irrigate
place at 4°C for 2 days
place in growing conditions
Temperature- 20-24°C (usually room temp.)
Light- ~130-150 µmol/m/s (several bulb types work)
Light Duration (Photoperiod)-
short days (12 light/12 dark) favor vegetative growth
long days (18 light/6 dark) favors flowering
Water- Sub-irrigate and keep young plants moist
older plants need less frequent watering
Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) can be tricky to grow. Of course, in order to initiate growth of Arabidopsis seeds are needed, which can be obtained from most any lab that works with Arabidopsis. Most academic labs share materials and the PIs (primary investigators) who run the lab are more than happy to give seeds, so just ask.
After obtaining seeds put them in a small microcentrifuge tube. Soil type is important-many stores sell sticks, clay and rocks that they try to pass off as soil. The soil for Arabidopsis should have a nice texture (often called potting mix), so shop carefully.
Use average sized pots (7-10 cm wide) and lightly pack soil. After filling up the pots with soil use a spray bottle to moisten the top portion. Then place your index finger over the microcentrifuge tube and invert the tube. There should be enough seeds (~15-25) on your finger to sprinkle evenly onto the soil. After sprinkling the seeds, spritz the seeds lightly and cover with plastic wrap.
The seedlings can withstand 24 hour light for the next 2-3 weeks after which the cycle can be changed to 12 or more hours to yield strong plants. Growth will take longer compared to keeping the plants under constant light but they might endure the dipping much better. Feel free to experiment and determine what is preferred. When watering the plants, be sure to sub-irrigate (water the tray, not the plants) and allow the soil to wick up the water. Do not leave pots sitting in water for more than a few hours (dump out excess).
Light is crucial. Without the proper lighting the plants will die. This is perhaps the most common reason for problems with growth. Use a good growth chamber where plants can be raised or lowered. Another option is to have lights suspended above the plants so that the lights can be raised or lowered. In either case, the intensity should be at a minimum of ~5,000 lux. However lux is a rather useless measurement unless something about the spectral quality is known. More commonly 80-100 µmol/m/s are used.
Use a lux meter or other measuring device to determine if the plants are receiving adequate light. Although presented here are grow lights for indoor use, it is highly recommended to try using a greenhouse. Sunlight is more unpredictable; however, the best case is to use lights in a greenhouse. Sunlight might be too intense for young plants so a shade screen is often used. Many researchers allow growth of 1-5 plants per pot and cut initial bolts to encourage many secondary bolts.