How to Grow Plant from Seed

I expect you’re waiting for the end of this list of ways to get plants for your border, and wondering when you’re going to come to seeding. It sounds like an inexpensive way to increase your plant stock. It is not, however, inexpensive in time and labor, and you may want to leave this particular operation for later, when your garden is further along.

Having said that, I still hope you’ll try it, because it’s an exciting, even miracu­lous, process. In general, annuals are easily grown from seed. They are a good bet if you are planning to make your first foray into seeding and if, as is likely, you have large spaces to fill the first year.

Perennials are another matter. Some of the kind you’re likely to want—phlox and oriental poppies, for instance—cannot be relied on to come true to type, although occasionally seeding will give you variations in color and form that you might find more attractive than the original.


I shall always buy most of my annuals from a local nursery. They are healthy, uniform plants, they’re earlier than anything I can raise indoors with my various improvisations, and they certainly save me an enormous amount of trouble. And yet . . . and yet . . . Every year, I order seeds of a few favorite annuals and grow them myself, some directly in the borders and others in rows in the production garden, to be moved to the border in late summer.

I do this because there is an easy, bountiful look about a direct-sown mass of such annuals as candytuft, baby’s breath, tobacco flowers, or other such informal plants. This look is harder to achieve when you’re setting out plants you’ve bought by the half dozen. No matter how hard you try, you find yourself putting them in rows or blocks and they have a regimented look. Direct seeding avoids that awkward effect.

I sometimes hedge my bets, putting out a half-dozen nursery-raised plants and scattering seed of the same species among them. This results in an attractive mass of flowers with staggered blooming times.

Be sure to check the information on the seed packet. Is this a frost-hardy annual that can be sown as soon as the soil is workable in spring? If not, and it is a tender annual, then it should not be sown until after the latest frost date in your area, in which case you might consider sowing earlier indoors, to get a jump on the season.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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