Even though all plants come from a seed, it can be challenging to grow a fully cultivated flower directly from the ground. However, it is one of the cheapest ways to fill your garden with beautiful annuals and perennial blooms. With our method, you can have a vast garden with various colors, sizes, and heights that will compliment any front or backyard.
Keep in mind that many perennials won’t bloom during their first year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible with a bit of patience to see some growth. Annual blooms will bloom quickly and without much effort, and many of them will seed themselves throughout your garden. For perennials, we recommend buying compost or plant food.
With all that said, let’s look at some tips you’ll need to grow different flowers from a seed.
How to Grow Perennials from a Seed
Perennials are notoriously finicky when growing from a seed, but others, like the cosmos and zinnias, are easy. Every flower has individual needs, but it’s always important to stay patient. Start seeds eight to 10 weeks before your last frost date, and label pots with the type of seed and sowing date. Give seeds at least a month to germinate.
All perennials germinate best when exposed to light, so don’t poke the seeds too far below the surface. Sprinkle a light amount of soil above the seeds and keep them moist. For difficult perennials, use a deep-root seed starting system or kit that is covered to maintain a level of moisture and a heart of around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth.
Some of the best summer flowers take less than one year to grow, like these:
- Maiden Pinks
- Blanket Flowers
- Anise Hyssops
- Rose Campion
Regardless of perennial, you’ll be able to enjoy their flowering petals a year after seeding. In a few years, you’ll be able to make more plants by dividing the ones you have, and you won’t have to wait a whole year if you split your perennials at the root.
How to Grow Annual Flowers from a Seed
Annuals are easier to grow from a seed because they are hardier and usually have deeper roots – but not always. Annuals also seed themselves as long as you leave the flower heads on the plants after summer turns into fall. These flowers are so compliant at seeding themselves that you may have too many newly formed plants at the beginning of your 3rd summer.
All annuals grow quickly, but some need to start indoors under lights six to eight weeks before placing them in the garden. Some even need complete darkness to germinate, while others, like the Himalayan blue poppy, are difficult to flower even for experienced gardeners.
To determine your flowers needs, regardless if they’re an annual or perennial, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the size of the seeds? Small seeds may get swept away by water, while large seeds usually stay firm in the ground even after a rainstorm.
- Are there special germination requirements? Most seeds simply require planting, while others need full darkness, direct sunlight for 8 hours, or to be soaked in plant food before being placed in the ground. Look up every individual flower before planting.
- How fast do the seeds grow? Growth rate is difficult to determine because of a range of factors such as genetics and the quality of soil. Knowing the growth rate of the seed could mean the difference between seeing a full-grown flower in a season or waiting until the next.
- How long will it take to bloom? Bloom period is different from seed growth because a seed could reach maturity but not flower until the next year. Fast and easy annuals will usually take 50 to 70 days to flower, while others take 90 days.
- Can these seeds take cold weather? Fussy seeds will die if the soil is too cold, while others can tolerate light frost. Understanding the tolerance of each seed will determine what month they should be planted in the ground.
If you’re growing annuals for the first time, we recommend hard annuals such as the bachelor button, spider flower, forget-me-not, linaria, snapdragons, sweet pea, and lavatera. However, the statice, marigold, and china aster are still relatively easy to plant and grow during the spring.
How to Start a Wildflower Garden
While browsing in the garden center, you’ve probably seen packets of wildflower seeds that have multiple different flowers that work well together. These flowers tend to have similar growing expectations and don’t require a lot of work to grow. While this is usually true, starting a wildflower garden can be just as difficult as planting perennials.
Often seen as hardier and self-reproducing, wildflowers still require good soil and water to grow properly. Still, they are a low-cost alternative in comparison to annuals and perennials when done correctly. You need to focus on growing wildflowers that are actually native to your area because they have the greatest chance of blooming.
It’s important to keep common growing advice in mind while starting a wildflower garden:
- Practice weed control because weeds are a flower’s biggest threat.
- Ensure your flowers receive plenty of sunshine and water.
- Cover the newly seeded area with a plastic sheet so they can bake in the sun.
- Till the solid shallowly and rake and level it.
- Mix sand, seed mixture, and add plant food if desired.
- For wildflowers, germination should occur in 10 to 21 days.
How to Speed up Seed Growth
We’ve determined that a seed won’t grow simply because it’s placed in the soil. There are plenty of reasons why your seedling isn’t growing or won’t reach maturity until the end of the season. You can trick your seeds into germinating sooner with these methods:
- Scarification: Flowers like the false indigo and nasturtium have thick coverings over their seeds, which take a long time to germinate. You can rub the seed with sandpaper or nick them with a knife to crack their hard coverings.
- Winter sowing: There are very few seeds that can sustain the winter while they’re seedings before reaching maturity. However, you can grow seeds indoors before planting them outside in the spring.
- Stratification: You can trick your seeds into thinking it’s summer or winter by creating the conditions for that growth period. Place seeds in the freezer or near a heater to germinate more seed for certain plants.
Collect and Save Seeds
After your first successful batch, you can start to cultivate and collect seeds from plants to sow the following year. You have to wait for the seeds to ripen before harvesting them. Tap the seed heads and let them fall into a brown bag or, you can snip the entire head off at the end of the season. Be sure they’re dry before storing, or mold could develop.
Start Sowing Your Garden Today
Gardening and sowing your garden with seeds isn’t just a fantastic way to save money; it can also be the perfect way to give yourself a bit of self-care. Gardening is relaxing, fulfilling, and brings life into your property with only a little bit of effort!