Nine easy flowers to grow from seed

Meadow flowers

Would you like more flowers in your garden, but are struggling to buy plants? Spring is the perfect time to starting growing flowers from seed. If you’re new to growing plants from seed, it can seem a little daunting. To make it simple for you, we’ve picked out some of the easiest flowers you can grow from seed – so you can look forward to a summer full of colour for just the price of a few packs of seed. You can sow many of these seeds straight out in the garden, in a patch of bare soil. Or, if you don’t have space in the ground, you can grow them in pots and containers too. Watch our seed sowing guide to help you get started and then browse our list of easy flowers.


How to sow your seeds outside

Watch our guide to sowing flower seeds direct outside into a patch of bare ground. In this video No Fuss Guide, David Hurrion shows you how to sow a variety of hardy annuals, the result is a patchwork of colourful flowers that will bloom for months.


1

California poppies

California poppies – Eschscholzia californica
California poppies – Eschscholzia californica

For a splash of vivid colour in borders or in pots, you can’t beat California poppies (Eschscholzia californica). They’re super easy to grow, flower for months, and readily self-seed, so you get more flowers next year. They’re also loved by bees and other pollinators.
Sow direct outside where you want them to grow in March-May, for flowers June-August.


2

Nasturtium

Nasturtium – Tropaeolum majus
Nasturtium – Tropaeolum majus

Easy to grow, with bright orange, red or yellow flowers. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) are vigorous and can be grown as a climber or allowed to scramble through beds. They’re also a magnet for bees and are great for growing amongst your veg – they’ll lure white butterflies away from cabbages and aphids away from beans. You can also eat the flowers and leaves and pickle the seeds! Sow direct outside March-June, for flowers June-September.


3

Sweet pea

Sweet pea – Lathyrus odoratus
Sweet pea – Lathyrus odoratus

Perfect for picking and putting in a vase, fragrant sweet peas are easy to grow and come in a range of beautiful colours. You can grow them in pots or in the ground, training them up a trellis or a wigwam. Plant sweet peas near a seating area so you can smell them as you sit and relax. Sow your sweet peas in pots or empty loo rolls March-May, and plant them out in May-June, for flowers June-October.


4

Love-in-a-mist

Love-in-a-mist – Nigella
Love-in-a-mist – Nigella

Also known as Nigella, this cottage garden favourite is perfect for scattering wherever there’s a gap in your flowerbed. Love-in-a-mist has masses of delicate flowers in blue or white, and attractive ferny leaves. It’s great for pollinating insects and the flowers, foliage and dried seedheads look lovely in flower arrangements. Sow seeds direct outside March-April for flowers July-September.


5

Cornflower

Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus
Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

This pretty little flower is often found in meadows, but it’s equally at home in our gardens. The original (Centaurea cyanus) has blue flowers, but you can also find varieties with white, pink or even red flowers. The flowers are a great source of food for bees and other pollinators. Deadhead regularly and you’ll have flowers all summer long, but leave them to go to seed towards autumn, and they’ll provide food for birds.


6

Sunflower

Sunflower – Helianthus annuus
Sunflower – Helianthus annuus

These big, bright flowers are easy to grow from seed and are ideal for growing with children. They can grow to heights of up to two metres, bear impressive, long-lasting flowers, and look fantastic in gardens and allotments.

Sow seeds in small pots March-May and plant out in the garden May-June. Protect the seedlings from slugs and snails and look forward to statuesque blooms June-September.


7

Cosmos

Cosmos bipinnatus
Cosmos bipinnatus

Cosmos are easy to grow from seed. The showy flowers in pink, white, burgundy or even orange, are great for pollinators – tall varieties add a dramatic burst of colour to borders and shorter varieties look glorious in large pots. You’ll need to act fast to give them as long a growing season as possible, so sow seeds in small pots as soon as you can. Then, when all risk of frost has past, gradually acclimatise them to outdoors before planting them out in May-June, and look forward to flowers July-October.


8

Marigold

Marigold – Calendula officinalis
Marigold – Calendula officinalis

Pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) add a splash of sunshine to pots and borders. The flowers range from yellow to orange, and are loved by bees and other pollinating insects. They make great cut flowers and you can sprinkle the petals into salads. It also self-seeds, so you get more flowers next year. Sow direct outside April-May for flowers July-October.


9

Morning glory

Morning glory – Ipomoea purpurea
Morning glory – Ipomoea purpurea

Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is easy to raise from seed and grows quickly, making it perfect for growing up obelisks, through shrubs and trees, and filling gaps on fences. The flowers attract bees and other pollinators – they open wide in the early morning sun but are short-lived and will not last into the afternoon. Sow direct outside April-May for flowers July-August.


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