Growing Flowers from Seed: Practical Advice for Seed Starting

One of my absolute favorite garden tasks is starting seeds. It just feels like there’s so much possibility in my fingertips! Flipping through the glossy pages of seed catalogs is quite the experience. Over the winter months, I’d be willing to bet that at least fifty garden/seed booklets are delivered. Every single time, I managed to sit down with a marker and circle all the things that I find to be “pretty.” When the time comes to actually order the seeds, reality has set in. After all, I don’t have the money – and I certainly don’t have the space needed to grow the 54 different varieties of cabbage that I had circled. Choices have to be made. This includes how I go about the process of selecting which flowers I’ll grow for the season.

If you’re new to gardening, growing flowers can be a little tricky. While some plants are super easy to grow and forgiving – there are definitely some others that can leave you feeling extremely frustrated (depending upon where you live, of course!). Don’t worry! I promise that you have a green thumb! We just need a little knowledge about the plants, first. Here are some questions that I ask myself when growing something new:

What kind of plant?

First and foremost, I need to know whether the flower is an annual, biennial, or perennial. This will be important, as it will impact where I decided to plant within the garden beds. Annual flowers generally grow, bloom, and set seed all in one season. Biennials will often show green growth the first season, then over winter – and bloom (produce seeds) the next growing season. As you imagine, growing biennials requires quite a bit more patience than growing an annual. Lastly, perennials, come back and bloom each season. These plants usually require a few years to become established before you’ll see blooms. However, you’ll be rewarded with beauty year after year once the plants have matured. These plants are ideal for permanent flower beds.

First year flower growers will likely want to compose the majority of their cutting garden of annuals. These fast growing plants will quickly fill beds and begin blooming early in the summer. However, it’s also important to consider starting other types of flower from seed, as well. Starting biennials from seed will ensure a good head-start on next year’s bloom season. While most perennials plants can easily be found at a nursery, starting them from seed is an option that I really like. When making larger plantings, things may become costly quite quickly. Though the results will take time, those with patience to do so will definitely be rewarded.


When to plant?

When planting something new, another aspect I like to take into account is whether the plants will thrive in cool or warm weather. There are obviously lots of plants which fall outside of these two extremes, but in my zone – it’s a good place to start. Cool season flowers won’t bloom well in areas with hot summers. The opposite is also, more obviously, true when growing warm season flowers in places with rather mild temperatures. Determining the best time to plant can definitely be a little bit frustrating without a little bit of background knowledge.  Anytime I’m growing something new, my favorite thing to do is to go online and immediately start searching for blogs with first hand knowledge of how to grow the plant. There are always tons of generic websites with germination instructions, but I find that the best information comes from real people who have the flower actually growing in their yards. While it may take a little bit of trial and error, don’t be afraid to experience with different planting times as a means to determine which will yield the best results.

How to plant?

Lastly, we’ll need to figure out how we can get the seeds to germinate. While some flowers, like zinnias, will readily germinate simply by planting the seeds into warm soil – others, not so much. Depending upon the type, some flower seeds can be somewhat tricky germinate. Common seed treatments which help to enhance germination of seeds may include soaking the seeds overnight before planting, scratching the seed coat (scarifying), or stratification (cold treatment) of the seed. The type of treatment required for the seed will also impact the manner in which you choose to start the seeds. It’s important to keep in mind that some flowers can take several months to germinate, so it’s important to not get discouraged.

That’s it! I hope that this post was helpful! For more information, be sure to check out the YouTube video, below. Hope you’re having a great day!


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Some of my favorite flowers to grow from seed (Amazon affiliate links) –

‘Miss Jekyll Blend’ Love-in-a-Mist Seeds

German Chamomile

‘Shades of Summer’ Verbascum

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