13 Annual Flowers You Can Easily Grow From Seeds

Fill your landscape with bright colors year after year by planting these beauties.

June 2, 2016
daisy
1/14 Elena Pavlovich/Shutterstock

Most annual flower seeds are easy to start indoors, and by starting your own bedding plants, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be able to grow hundreds of cultivars and unusual species not available at the garden center. Read on to see what beautiful additions you can make to your landscape this season.

ageratum
2/14 mr_coffee/Shutterstock
Ageratum

Start the seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Scatter the seeds on the surface of the soil and don’t cover them, because they need light to germinate. Keep the soil temperature at 70 to 80 degrees F and sprouts should appear in 5 to 10 days. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Butterflies love ageratum’s fuzzy blue, pink, or white blooms. Grow these mounding plants in beds or containers and be sure to cut some stems for indoor arrangements, too.

 

Related: Never Plant Butterfly Bush Again

snapdragon
3/14 Robert Cardillo
Snapdragon

Snapdragon flowers come in all major colors except blue, as well as in combinations of 2 and 3 hues. The long flower spikes of the upright cultivars are excellent for cutting gardens and dwarf cultivars make colorful groundcovers. Sow seeds of upright cultivars 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date and start dwarf cultivars about 4-weeks before the last frost date. Scatter seeds on the surface of the medium, but don’t cover them because they need light to germinate. Keep the soil temperature at 70 to 75 degrees F and sprouts should appear in 10 to 20 days. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after the last frost.

vinca
4/14 Christa Neu
Vinca

These bushy 12- to 14-inch plants bear a profusion of single blooms in white, apricot, pink, or rose. Stardust Orchid produces big blooms and is easy to grow. Start the seeds indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before your last frost date. Sprinkle seeds over the moist medium, cover them with a scant 1/6 inch of soil, then lay damp newspaper over the soil surface to keep the seeds moist and dark. Maintain the soil temperature at 70 to 75 degrees F.

 

Check daily for signs of germination and remove the paper as soon as sprouts appear, usually after about 2 or 3 days. Plant the seedlings outdoors 2- to 4-weeks after your last frost date.

celosia
5/14 ojoel/Shutterstock
Celosia

Whether you grow the plumed type, which looks like big feathers, or the crested type, curled like the combs of a rooster, celosia adds bold color to beds or any container garden, and the stems are good for cutting, too.

 

Sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date, barely covering them with medium. Keep the soil temperature at about 75 degrees F. When seeds germinate, usually after about 5 to 10 days, lower the temperature to 65 to 70 degrees F. Feed 2-week-old seedlings with diluted fish emulsion and repeat 2 weeks later. Set out the seedlings 2 weeks after the last frost date because transplanting them sooner can hurt flowering later in the season.

cosmos
6/14 Mino Surkala/Shutterstock
Cosmos

Cosmos bears single white, pink, lavender, or burgundy blooms from summer through frost. Dwarf cultivars, such as Sonata, tend to bloom earlier than taller-growing types. About 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date, sow the seeds, covering them with about ⅛ inch of medium. Keep the temperature at about 70 degrees F. When seeds sprout, lower the heat to about 60 degrees F and provide bright light to keep them from becoming leggy. Transplant seedlings outdoors around the last frost date.

Related: 10 Unusual Spring Flowers

globe amaranth
7/14 wandee007/Shutterstock
Globe Amaranth

The upright, branching plants of Globe Amaranth bear cloverlike red, purple, pink, and white blooms that are excellent for drying. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Barely cover the seeds with soil and keep the temperature at about 72 degrees F. Germination should occur in 10 to 14 days. Transplant seedlings outdoors around the last frost date. Pick the flowers often to keep the blooms coming.

sunflower
8/14 salajean/Shutterstock
Sunflower

Popular sunflowers have finally made their way out of vegetable gardens and into flowerbeds, entryways, and even containers. Sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Cover the seeds with ½ inch of soil and keep the temperature at 70 to 85 degrees F. Seedlings will emerge in 5 to 14 days. Set out the plants after the last frost. Experiment with some of the newer cultivars that offer bicolored blooms, bushy shapes, and dwarf size.

 

Related: The 8 Prettiest Places In The World To See Flowers In Full Bloom

impatiens
9/14 David Dea/Shutterstock
Impatiens

Arguably the best flower for shady areas, impatiens bloom nonstop from the time you transplant them to the garden until frost. The 6- to 30-inch tall plants cover themselves with single or double blooms in pink, red, purple, orange, salmon, and white and in both solid shades and bicolors.

 

Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the premoistened starting medium, about 8 to 10 weeks before your last frost date. Don’t cover the seeds because they need light to germinate. Set the containers directly beneath fluorescent lights and keep the soil moist and at 70 to 80 degrees F. Seeds should sprout in 1 to 3 weeks. Transplant the seedlings outside a week or two after the last frost date.

 

Related: 51 Plants That Don't Need A Lot Of Sun To Thrive

alyssum
10/14 Satyrenko/Shutterstock
Alyssum

Alyssum’s tiny, fragrant flowers of white, pink, or purple attract the 10 Insects You Should Actually Want Around Your Plants. Use these ground-hugging plants to edge beds, borders, or containers. Sow the seeds on the surface of the medium without covering them, about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Keep the soil temperature at 60 to 75 degrees F. Germination should occur in 1 or 2 weeks. Transplant the seedlings outdoors around the last frost date.

medallion daisy
11/14 wearenotebook/Shutterstock
Medallion Daisy

Melampodium bears beautiful small, golden, daisy-like blooms on bushy plants that tolerate heat, drought, and pests. Grow them as one of the 81 Border Plants That Are Better Than A Fence or in containers. About 14 weeks before your last frost date, sprinkle the seeds over a premoistened medium, then cover the seeds lightly with vermiculite. Keep the temperature at 65 to 70 degrees F. Sprouts should appear in a week or two. Transplant the seedlings to the garden 2 weeks after your last frost date.

petunias
12/14 Robert Cardillo
Petunia

Starting petunias from seed opens the door to a wide world of beautiful, tubular flowers in shades ranging from striking magenta to subdued lavender to pure white. Sprinkle seeds onto the surface of the premoistened medium, 10 to 12 weeks before the last expected frost. Don’t cover the seeds because they need light to germinate. Set the flat beneath lights and keep the soil temperature at 70 to 80 degrees F. When seedlings appear after about 10 days, lower the temperature to about 60 degrees F. Transplant seedlings outdoors around the last frost date.

marigold
13/14 Rodale Images
Marigold

Marigolds thrive in just about any climate. And although you can sow the seeds directly in your beds in spring, you’ll be able to enjoy their sunny yellow, orange, and bicolored flowers much earlier if you start the seeds indoors. Sow the seeds about 6 weeks before your last frost date, covering them with a very thin layer of soil. Keep the soil temperature at 70 to 75 degrees F. Sprouts will appear in 5 to 7 days. Plant the seedlings outdoors anytime after the last frost.

zinnia
14/14 Thomas MacDonald
Zinnias

Zinnias offer an assortment of bloom colors and shapes on plants that range from 1- to 4-feet tall. Many are great for cutting. If you garden in a humid area, try the newer mildew-resistant varieties, such as Oklahoma or Profusion. Start Elegan cultivars 4 weeks before your last frost date; start slower-growing Narrow-Leaf Zinnias 6 to 8 weeks before that date. Sow the seeds in individual peat pots, barely covering them with soil. Maintain a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees F until the seeds sprout, then lower the temperature to about 60 degrees F and transplant to the garden around the last frost date.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Comments