Tips for Using Flower Garden Seeds

Many times gardeners will begin sowing their flower garden seeds in the winter and spring in preparation for the summer. However there are many seeds that can be started in the fall, particularly early spring annuals, biennials, cool loving annuals and some specific perennials. During the fall gardens tend to look run down as plants go into hibernation or die. You can fill your garden back with cool loving annuals that grow quickly from seed such as calendula, candytuft, sweet pea and sweet alyssum.

If you begin sowing seeds in the fall versus the winter then there are some flowers that will have a higher germination rate. The following are some flower seeds that can be sown in the fall, love in the mist, scarlet sage, bells of Ireland, snapdragon, clarkia, Mexican tulip poppy, blue woodruff, California bluebell and the California poppy. Any annual that is known for being self-sowing is a pretty hardy plant and can be started in the fall instead of the spring. You can sow these seeds after a frost as well.

Biennials are plants that grow their leaves in the first year and then flowers in the second year and are perfect candidates for late summer or early fall sowing. The black eyed susan, foxglove, Canterbury bells, hollyhock, sweet William, and evening primrose can all be started in the fall. Some perennials that can be sowed in the fall include the purple coneflower, columbine, some salvia species, and some sunflowers to name but a few.


There are many different procedures to germinate seeds and you will need to research the types that are needed for each of your flower garden seed varieties. Without the correct research your seeds may not grow. A common germination treatment for perennial flower garden seeds is cold stratification to mimic winter conditions. You can use a cold frame or place your seeds outside in the autumn. You can also roughen the seed coat to allow more moisture to penetrate the seed, a procedure called scarification. 

You can pre-treat seeds by soaking them in warm water over night until the seed begins to burst. You do want the seeds to dry out before you plant them so the timing on this can be tricky. Woody trees and shrubs tend to need acid treatments more so then flower garden seeds. Vinegar can be added to seeds for an acid treatment. Something that is generally not recommended for garden seeds but has been used is fire treatment. The main reason that viable seeds refuse to grow is that they have not been pre-treated properly and this can stand in the way of you growing your own spectacular plants.

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