Growing annuals and perennials from seed is easy and rewarding, and an inexpensive way to grow more flowers.
Sow seeds in late summer and early fall. Annuals, such as calendula and stock, bloom in the fall. Others, like larkspur, California poppy, and alyssum, will germinate but need a period of cooler weather to bloom in late winter and early spring.
In the Garden Center, look for wildflower mixes formulated with fertilizer and combined with a growing medium for easy planting.
Perennials such as ornamental allium, penstemon and lupine also need the head start of fall planting to take off in spring.
Sow seeds Now for Winter and Spring blooms:
- Select an area in full sun, with soil rich in organic matter that drains well. Weed the area and rake smooth.
- Sow the seeds according to the depth and spacing indicated on the package. Cover with soil and lightly tamp down. Do not cover seeds that need light to germinate.
- Water with a light mist after planting.
- Water the seedbed daily, keeping it moist, until seeds have germinated. Then water every other day. Once plants are 4-6 inches tall, they need one inch of water per week.
- Thin plants growing too closely together. Keep the area weeded.
- Mulch the seedbed or plants with two inches of a light mulch, such as straw, in areas that get freezing temperatures. Remove mulch when seeds germinate.
- Cover seeds or seedlings with row covers or burlap to keep them from washing away or being flattened from hard rain. Shade cloth protects tiny seedlings if the sun gets too hot.