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flowering from seed

4. Label the tray with the variety name and date sown.

2. Moisten potting mix until it’s thoroughly damp but not dripping wet.

12. When seedlings outgrow their trays, either repot them into larger containers or, if the weather is warm enough, start transitioning them outdoors.

3. Fill seed flats to the top with soil, tapping the whole tray firmly against the table as you go so the soil settles and there are no air pockets trapped in the tray cells.

9. Cover trays with a clear plastic dome and set onto a 70°F (21°C) heat mat or in a warm corner of the house, consistently above 65°F (18°C).

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Marigolds have become somewhat ubiquitous, and that should tell you something about how easy they are to grow. Their large seeds are easy to handle, and they are very reliable growers. Sow the seeds directly in your garden after all danger of frost has passed, or start them indoors four to six weeks prior to your last frost date. They take around four to 12 days to germinate and 60 to 70 days to bloom. Pinching off spent blooms from young plants can encourage them to bush out and set more flower buds.

Poppy plants are worth growing just to watch the drooping buds burst open and raise their heads high. Annual poppies don’t like being transplanted, so directly sowing in the garden is optimal. You can sow in early spring, even before the ground has thawed. The seeds need some light to germinate, so don’t cover them. Just press down on the seeds for them to make good contact with the soil. They take about two weeks to germinate, but when the weather warms they will shoot up. Blooming occurs in around 65 days. After the seed pods dry, you can shake the flat-topped seed heads throughout the yard to reseed.

Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

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Besides patience, annual flax requires little effort on your part. It takes around 18 to 21 days to germinate and 50 to 60 days to bloom. Mark the planting area, so you don’t accidentally plant something else where you’ve put its seeds. Sow the seeds after your last frost date. Flax plants can be floppy, so it helps to interplant them with sturdier flowers for support. Deadheading (removing spent flowers) will keep them blooming throughout the summer, and they will often reseed themselves.

Calendula, or pot marigold, is another lover of cool temperatures. Sow the seeds in the early spring right after your last frost date. They take approximately 10 days to germinate and 45 to bloom. These flowers are no relation to common marigolds (Tagetes sp.), though they are often yellow or orange and look vaguely similar. The flowers are edible with a citrus-like flavor. Older varieties are single flowered, but now there also are frilly double-flowered varieties. The singles seem to reseed more readily but not to the point of being a nuisance.

This vine is often grown on trellises or arbors. It is an annual, and when started from seed it can take until the end of summer to bloom. However, if you start the seeds indoors about six weeks before your projected last frost date, they’ll start blooming earlier in the growing season than if you directly sow them in your garden. Once the plant is established in your garden, it will self-seed and come back on its own year after year. Water your plant around once a week to ensure even moisture, and use a low-nitrogen fertilizer monthly or as needed during the growing season.

These are perennials in some climates with a long blooming period from around July to September. They’re good for flower borders, as well as for use as cut flowers. Plus, they’re efficient at spreading, so you don’t have to plant many seeds to establish a large garden bed. Make sure you have good soil drainage, as soggy soil can be fatal. And remove the spent flower heads to encourage further blooming. Plus, after flowering is complete for the season, cut back the stems to their lowest leaves to conserve the plant’s energy over the winter.

These flowers make a good ground cover for a spot that gets a lot of sun. They are highly tolerant of drought and require little maintenance. They’re even deer-resistant and typically don’t have pest or disease problems as long as their soil has good drainage. Sow your seeds directly in the garden after your last frost, or start them indoors. Expect blooms starting in the summer and lasting until frost arrives in the fall. You can deadhead the flowers to encourage further blooming, or leave some of the spent blooms to promote self-seeding.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

These blooms are typically a bright yellow to deep orange color, and they make a nice container plant or an edging plant in the garden. Directly sow the seeds in your garden after the last frost, or start them indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost date. They will self-seed from season to season. If you live in a hot climate, give your plants some afternoon sun protection, and keep the soil moderately moist. Also, remove spent flowers to encourage further blooming.

These blue flowers look like miniature carnations and tend to attract butterflies. Sow the seeds directly in your garden bed after the final frost of spring. Or you can start them roughly six to eight weeks before your projected last frost date, and then transplant the seedlings into your garden once the weather warms. They will flower from mid-summer until the first frost of fall and require very little care from you besides watering during prolonged dry spells. Collect the brown seed pods at the end of the season to plant in your garden the next year.

These flowers grow as perennials in warm climates but can work as annuals elsewhere. Make sure the threat of frost is behind you before directly sowing them in your garden, or start them indoors. The flowers open in the afternoon, hence their name, and they have a lovely fragrance. They bloom from mid-summer to fall and are fairly low-maintenance beyond preferring consistently moist soil. So be sure to water your flowers during dry stretches.

Do you want to enjoy a beautiful flower garden without spending a ton of money? You can save money on flowers for your garden by buying more seeds and fewer plants. Perennial flowers grown from seed might not bloom during their first growing season, so it’s important to have a little patience with them. On the other hand, annual flowers should bloom as they go through their lifecycle over a growing season, and some annuals might even self-seed to grow new plants the next year. Here are 14 flowers that are among the easiest to grow from seed.