Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Frugal Gardening Tip #3- Grow Annual Flowers from Seed

Buying a pack of annual flowers at the garden center isn't expensive. But if you want to cover a large plot of ground with color, or if you want a cutting garden, you can't get cheaper then planting annuals from seed.

But don't you need a greenhouse or grow lights, potting soil, and pots to grow plants from seed?

You don't need all that to start flowers from seed. You can start seeds in the house simply on a sunny window sill in paper cups. I usually start a few seeds just because I have the urge to get my hands in soil by February. But it isn't necessary to start plants indoors. Many flowers grow quickly and easily just by planting seeds directly in the garden soil.

This time of year, every garden center and even grocery stores have a seed rack. For a dollar or two you can purchase a pack of seeds that will produce an amazing number of plants. Seeds are one item that still gives a good return on the dollar!

Here are some of my favorite annual flowers to grow from seed. All these can be sowed directly in the soil. In fact, most of these flowers do not like their roots disturbed and will grow much better if they are started in the ground.
Zinnia - The first flower I ever grew, these are perfect for beginning gardeners. Easy to grow and so bright and cheerful!

Cosmos- These flowers in shades of pink and white, always bring memories of my Grandpa's flower garden and the bouquets he would pick.

Marigolds - The classic easy plant for children. Planted in the vegetable garden, they help discourage some garden pests.

Nasturtiums- These flower seeds are huge and great for small hands to plant.

Morning Glories - A vine to plant along a fence or post.

Sunflowers - Not all are the familiar huge flowers. Pick a shorter variety or one of the special non-pollen varieties that are good cut flowers.

Many of these flowers are good for cut flowers. With a little planning, you can have fresh bouquets all summer. If you've checked the prices of cut flowers, you'll soon see that little pack of seeds is a real bargain.

I love Blooms for the Soul's idea of growing cut flowers to take to shut ins and nursing homes. What an encouragement and day brightener for a lonely person!

If you are not yet convinced of the frugality of growing annual flowers from seed, many of the flowers mentioned above are very easy to save seed from. Let a few zinnia, marigold, or cosmos flowers dry up on the stalk. Once they are very dry, cut the flower seeds and store in a dry place until next spring. If your plants were hybrids, the seeds may produce plants that are different then their parent but I've saved seeds from zinnias for years with great success. Buy a packet of seeds this year and you could go years without buying another pack!

It will soon be May, the safe seed planting date for our area. Go get some seeds and start planting some flowers to enjoy this summer!


  1. I'm planting sunflowers and zinnias in the garden this year, I once heard a saying "fresh flowers are like a cup of tea for the soul" and how true! Enjoy your day:)

  2. I have another one to add besides those (all of which are grown here- I plant Profusion Zinnias which have a neat mounding habit and don't necessarily need to be dead headed to rebloom)- poppies. I like to grow a small area of poppies and because they self-seed, I really only need to sow them every two years to keep up a nice count!

  3. Zinnia's are one of my favorite cut flowers. My favorite is green envy, its lime green color is alot of fun. I wanted to add that snap dragons (which come in many different varieties and heights) as well as moss roses (which are more of a ground cover type flower) are wonderful to start from the seed. Every spring, I plant a long row of Zinnia's seeds along the south side of my house. In front of these, I plant a row of snapdragon seeds and then in the very front, a row of moss rose seeds (get the mixed color variety, they are beautiful). HAPPPY PLANTING!

  4. So glad I found your blog. I'm a beginner gardener, and it looks like I can learn alot from your tips. I'm trying winter sowing this year, I'm anxious to see if I'm successful. I would love to start Marigolds, Zinna, Mexican sunflowers, and Snap Dragons for my veggie garden and a small area that I plan to till. Do you use seed starting mix or regular garden soil for your seeds?

  5. Dear Gina. I just discovered your blog today, and I really enjoy your views on many topics! I love to plant from seeds, for instance. I watch many people around me buy a lot of expensive plants each year, ready with flowers for instance, which is beautiful of course right away. For me and my children, we really enjoy the wonder of a seed turning into a beautiful flower or a tasteful and nutritious vegetable. Thank you for being an inspiration! Lots of love from Marie:)


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