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Growing Plants From Seed Tips

Read these 79 Growing Plants From Seed Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about English Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.

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When do I prick out my seedlings?

Pricking Out: (1) Spacing Out The Seedlings.

As soon as the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, you will have to space them out in the containers that you will be growing on your bedding plants

What , exactly is a biennial plant?

How To Grow Biennial Plants.

The best types of scented biennials to grow are:Sweet William, Wallflower, Siberian Wallflower, Sweet Sultan, Sweet Rocket and Brompton Stock.
All are very easily grown. Here's how:
(1)Prepare an outdoor seed bed during Mid May/late June: Fork over soil, firm it with your feet, then rake to a fine tilth.
(2)Using a pointed stick and string line, draw out half inch deep drills and sow the seeds thinly.Gently cover the seeds by raking along the line.Label each line.
(3)Keep the plot well watered , during dry spells and during late June/mid July dig up the seedlings and plant out in rows 1 foot apart and 9 inches between plants.
(4)Keep the young plants weed free and continue to water during dry weather.
(5)During late September, lift the plants and plant out in their final flowering positions in your borders.

Which seeds can I sow in my greenhouse?

Types of Plants Commonly Grown From Seed In the Greenhouse

Most people start off by growing easy annual bedding plants, such as French Marigolds and progress to more difficult sorts as their confidence increases.
Certain shrubs, foliage pot plants, alpines, perennials, flowering pot plants, vegetables for transplanting, tender vegetables and some soft fruits can be grown from seeds.

How do I prepare a Hardy Annual border.

Armfuls of Cutflowers.

Unlike shop bought bedding plants, many types of hardy annuals make very good cutflowers.
Good hardy annual cutfloers include Sunflowers, Larkspur, Godetia, Bells of Ireland, Clarkia and Sweet Peas.

How do I prepare a Hardy Annual border.

Cost Effective Display.

If you have an empty bed or border, a new garden or just work on a tight budget, a hardy annual border is a cost effective way of having a wonderful display of brightly coloured annuals at a fraction of the cost of bedding plants.
A packet of seeds can produce several dozen plants.

What plants can I grow from seed outdoors?

Types of Plants Commonly Grown From Seed Outdoors.

Hardy annuals, half hardy annuals, (For fall/late summer blooms), perennials and biennials.
This method is surprisingly easy, provided you prepare well beforehand.

What actually is a seed?

What Are Seeds?

Seed Sowing: Facts on Seeds.
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, from minute dust like Begonia seeds to giants, such as Coconuts.
Regardless of size, a seed contains an embryonic new plant, complete with it's first shoot and root and a store of food to be used when it starts growing, all wrapped up in a protective seed coat.

What , exactly is a biennial plant?

What Is A Biennial Plant?

Biennial plants are those that you sow from seed in summer,they flower the following year,then die.
Why grow them? Many biennial plants are old fashioned beauties that are exquisitely scented and bring an olde worlde charm to the mixed borders of english style gardens.
Some are highly perfumed and flower at a time ,in late spring, that is very welcome

How do I grow Ten Week Stock?.

Ten Week Stock.

Wonderfully fragrant flowers that resemble crushed tissue paper. 12" tall.

Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Cover seeds medium vermiculite.
Discard the dark green seedlings to ensure double flowers.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds, Patio containers.

Recommended Varieties.
10 week mixed. Cinderella mixed

How do I grow sweet peas

The Multifloras .

An older type with smaller blooms but a more plentiful supply. Said by many to have the best scent.
Available as mixtures only.
A must for general garden display and look particularly good in a cottage type garden. Grow to 6ft plus.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Sweet Alyssum .(Lobularia maritima)

A pretty , honey scented spreading plant for edging. Colour ranges from the traditional white through pink to deep purple. After the first flush of bloom , shear off faded blooms .
Good varieties are :
Snow Carpet, Oriental Night (Purple), and "Rosie o'Day" (Pink.) All grow to 4" tall

how do I grow Petunias?


Unbelievably a member of the potato family. Large showy trumpet shaped flowers in a wide range of colours. 12" Tall.
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds, Patio containers, hanging baskets.

Recommended Varieties.
Multiflora Types,(Medium sized blooms, but masses of them):
Frenzy mixed, Plum pudding mixed.
Duo mixed a good double flowered type.
Grandiflora Types, (Giant blooms)
Lavender Storm , Salmon Storm, White Storm, Falcon mixed, Prism mixed, Daddy mixed

How do I prepare a Hardy Annual border.

Preparing The Border.

(1) Fork over the bed or border, removing weed roots and large stones.
(2) Firm the soil be treading all over, (a job for the kids!)
(3) Rake level.
(4) Re-tread.
(5) Scatter a general fertilizer over the soil.
(6) Rake until the soil is a fine tilth.

Should I only buy F1 hybrid seeds?

F1 Hybrid Seeds V Open Pollinated Seeds.

Which are best? As a professional, I use almost exclusively F1 hybrid seeds as I need guaranteed results. Geraniums grown from Fi hybrid seeds can easily be had in bloom within 14 weeks from sowing.
Open polinated Geranium seeds often do not flower till the second year.
My advice would be buy F1 hybrid seeds for any bedding plants that are being sown indoors and ordinary seeds for hardy annuals for outdoor sowing .
Naturally antique varieties of bedding plants long pre-date the modern hybrid types and most of the varieties that survive today do have charm and are very much worth growing

What are open pollinated seeds?

Open Pollinated / Ordinary Seeds.

These are produced as a field grown crop. Ordinary seeds come from plants that come true from seeds, so will look like the parent plant
The seeds are relatively cheap to produce as they are field grown as a crop so therefor cheaper to buy.
The resultant plants are much more uneven in growth, than F1 Hybrid plants and can be less vigorous.

Which annuals can I sow during March?

The March Seed Sowing Scedule.

The following summer bedding plants can be sown this month and will be ready to plant out Late May/Early June.
(1) Antirrhinum : All types can now be sown.
(2) Lobelia: Both trailing and edging types.
(3) Petunias: Except the new "junior Petunias" which are best sown during April.
(4) Ageratum.
(5) Verbena: Except Verbena aublietia "Perfecta"
(6) Dianthus:All annual types.
(7)Mesembryanthemum: The Livingston Daisy.
(8) Nemesia.
(9) Pansy:Summer flowering.
(10) Sweet Peas: Will be ready to plant out April/May.

What type of compost do I use for grwing seedlings?

Pricking Out: (3) Compost/Potting Mix

For best results, prick seedlings out into a soilless/ peat based compost mix. Seed compost/ seeding mix is too low in available nutrients to sustain growth. Peat substitute composts, generally give inferior results.

What is the best way for me to store my seeds?

Store Seeds In Your Refrigerator

To help seeds maintain viability store them in an airtight, waterproof container in the refrigerator or freezer. This method will help seeds maintain their viability. I had had seeds that were over 10 years old germinate and grow after storing them in this manner.

What are the advantages of having a greenhouse?

Growing Your Own Pot Plants

A packet of Coleus seeds, for example, may cost a few cents, but for that you may get 100 plants!

Why do my seeds fail to grow?

Germination - The Basics: Failures In the Past?

Now that you understand a bit about seeds and the germination processes, think about some of the seed failures that you may have had in the past and that you put down to " bad seed."
The more likely reason is that , one or more of the basic conditions for germination was not met. E.G. The compost could have been too wet, too dry or compacted,the temperature may have been too high or too low for the type of seed you were sowing.

how do I grow Matricaria?.


A long flowered plant , which resembles tiny button chrysanths.9" tall.
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during Feb -March .18-20 degrees centigrade. Cover seeds with medium grade vermiculite.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Patio containers, Edging .

Recommended Varieties.
Golden Ball, White Gem.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Convolvulus minor, (Dwarf Morning Glory).

A lovely non- climbing form of Morning Glory that is easy to grow.
Large trumpet shaped flowers in blue, pink and white. The old "Blue Ensign" is amongst the loveliest of hardy annuals you can grow.

What are cotyledons?

Cotyledons: The Seed Leaves

When a seed germinates, a pair of leaves develops.These look nothing like the mature leaves of the adult plant. They usually are simple, round or oval in shape and the correct term for these is Cotyledons or seed leaves. In plants of the lily family and ornamental grasses, amongst others, a single cotyledon is produced.

How do I set up my potting bench?

Pricking Out: (7) Setting Up The Potting Bench

Most people find pricking out to be very therapeutic and relaxing, however it can literally be a pain in the neck ,(and back, for that matter!)
Avoid problems by making sure that you do not have to stretch to reach the seed lings and trays and that you keep your back and neck straight.
Comfort Tips:
(A) Sit down whilst pricking out.
(B) Work at a comfortable height. If you have to bend your neck , the tray is too low. I overcome this by sitting the tray that I am working on ontop of several other trays.
(C) If you are right-handed, sit the tray of seedlings on your left hand side, close to the tray you are working on, Left- handed people should sit the tray of seedlings to the right hand side.
The seed tray should be at the same height as the tray you are pricking out into, so sit it on a box or some other trays.
(D) Switch on the radio and let your cares drift away!

What fertilizer should I use for my seedlings?

Pricking Out: (4) Slow Release Fertilizer.

Potting mix/compost has enough plant food to last six weeks, after which you would have to liquid feed your bedding plant seedlings weekly.
To avoid this altogether, mix a granular , slow -release fertilizer through the potting mix/ compost. I would recommend Scott's Osmocote. This excellent product releases plant nutrients slowly over a period of 3 months.

What are F1 hybrid seeds?

F1 Hybrid Seeds.

F1 Hybrid Seeds.
The last 20 years or so, has seen the introduction of what is known as F1 hybrid seeds.What are they? Well they are the seeds produced from crosses between two distinct parent plants, the first generation.
The reason F1 Hybrid seeds are so much more expensive than ordinary seeds is that the cross pollination between the two parent plants has to be done by hand , every single year in highly controlled conditions.
The resultant plants from F1 hybrid seeds are generally very even in growth and in theory every plant having the same genes is very similar.
Is this an advantage? In general the answer is yes. The results speak for themselves: Flower beds that are so even in height , that they look as though they have been cut by a knife.

What tools do I need for seed sowing?

The Presser Board

A simple but indispensable aid to seed sowing is the presser board.
It pays to make your own presser board, that will fit the exact internal measurements of the type of seed tray that you are using.
Simply cut a rectangle of quarter inch plywood to size and attach a "D" shaped handle.
This handy little item ensures that the compost/potting mix is correctly firmed and absolutely level...A great start to your seed sowing indoors.

What exactly are half hardy annuals?

Tender Beauties.

Half hardy annuals are those types that are mostly sown in a greenhouse in early spring and planted outdoors after the frosts have finished.they are called half hardy because frost would kill them outright
Good examples are Begonia semperflorens,Petunia grandiflora,Verbena hybrida,Lobelia erinus and Antirrhinum majus.
Some quick growing types such as French Marigolds,African Marigolds and Zinnias can be sown direct outside in April/Maytime.

How do I fill trays?

Pricking Out: (5) Filling The Trays.

Overfill the trays with potting mix/compost, tap once, strike off the excess compost and firm lightly.

Can I use pottting mies for sowing seeds?

Peat Based Composts/ Seeding Mixes

The old saying: "You only get what you pay for," could have been written with seed sowing mixes in mind.
Always use good quality peat-based seed sowing composts, rather than potting mixes, when sowing seeds. The potting mixes have a higher level of base fertilisers and are designed for growing plants and not seed sowing.
It is always a temptation to use "bargain" potting mix compost, when sowing seeds. The results will be dissapointing as the higher level of fertilizer will scorch the roots of delicate germinating seeds.

Do I cover all seeds?

Easy Seed Sowing: (2) Covering The Seeds.

Most seeds require covering with more seed sowing compost or, better still medium grade horticultural vermiculite. How do you tell whether or not your seeds need to be covered?
Very fine seeds such as Begonia, Petunia, Lobelia and Antirrhinum ARE NOT covered, there are others, so always check the seed packet.
A foolproof way to cover seeds correctly is to use vermiculite. Just enough to cover the seeds is the rule.
Fill a small pot with vermiculite and gently tap it over the sown seed tray, moving from left to right.

Is there an easy way to sow seeds?

Easy Seed Sowing: (1) The Technique.

You have already filled the seed tray to perfection and watered with a pre-emergence fungicide and now you are ready to start sowing. What is the best way to actually sow the seeds?
I have tried several methods and the one that gives the most consistent results is for you to empty the seed packet into the palm of your hand.
Take a pinch of seeds and lightly sprinkle them around the perimiter of the seed tray, then back and forth along the length of the tray until it is completed. If the seeds are quite large, it is easy to see where you have been over heavy and it is possible to spread out these heavy patches with the tip of a plastic label.
Dark coloured seeds can be difficult to see, but lift the tray to eye level and they become more visible.
Don't be tempted to sow any remaining seeds over the top of those that you have just sown

What is the best type of tray to use for growing bedding plants?

Pricking Out: (2) Containers To Use.

Traditionally, bedding plant seedlings were pricked out into fish or tomato boxes. There are nowadays many different types of trays available that are lighter, use less potting mix,(compost) and are more hygenic.
(A) Polystyrene Sectional Trays : This type of Tray is losing favour with the home gardener as they are difficult to clean effectively.
(B) Moulded Plastic Sectional Trays: Cheap and sold as disposable, but with care they can be reused.
(C) Moulded Plastic Seed Trays: Again , cheap and reusable. usefull for such bedding plants as Lobelia, Allysum, Nemesia, French Marigolds and Dianthus, that are happy in shallow trays
(D) Peat Pots: The peat content nowadays is greatly reduced , much of it replaced by paper and wood pulp. In general, these are expensive so use only for specimen plants of Geraniums, Begonias, Lavatera and Cosmea.
(E) Moulded Plastic Pots: Thin, brittle plastic and sold as disposable. These are ideal for larger specimen plants and can be reused. Square types are preferable.
(F) Paper Pots: Once sold as Whalehide Pots, they are generally expensive, but useful for sowing sweet pea seeds directly into.
(G) Plug Trays: Ideal for short term bedding plants such as those that you intend putting into hanging baskets.
(H) Multi- Cell Trays : These moulded plastic trays are divided up into individual cells.Each seedling has it's own individual growing space. Cheap, reusable and surprisingly economical of potting mix,(Compost). There are diffrent cell sizes available to suit most plant types. Far and away the best type of container to use.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Calendula, (English or Pot Marigold).

The familiar English Marigold is very easy to grow, good for cutting and the petals will also add colour to summer salads. Large daisy -like blooms in shades of orange and yellow.
Old fashioned varieties to look out for are "Orange King" and "Lemon Queen" both of which are 2 ft tall.
"Pacific Apricot" is a more modern type in pastel apricot. 2 ft

How do I know when to sow different types of beding plants?

The February Seed Sowing Schedule.

The following summer bedding plants can be sown this month and will be ready to plant out Late May/Early June.
(1) Begonia semperflorens.
(2) Begonia "Non-Stop": Double Belgian types.
(3) Laurentia, (Isotoma). A fantastic Patio/ Basket plant covered with scented blue, pink, or white star shaped blooms.
(4) Pelargoniums, (Geraniums): All F1 hybrid Geraniums, such as "Maverick Star" sown now will bloom from late May onwards.
(5) Pelargoniums, Ivy-leaf types : Trailing Geraniums such as "Summer Showers."

How do I grow Alyssum?


Honey scented tiny blooms. 4" Tall.
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during Feb/March.18-20 degrees centigrade. Cover seeds medium vermiculite.
Discard the dark green seedlings to ensure double flowers.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Edging flower beds.

Recommended Varieties.
Rosie O'Day, Snow Carpet, Oriental Night.
Sow Seeds:

How do I know when to sow different types of beding plants?

The Seed Sowing Schedule.

We all know that some plants mature more quickly than others and if you want all your bedding plants to be ready to plant out at the same time, it pays to schedule your sowings.
If you hope to grow several different types of Summer Bedding plants, a schedule saves the heartache of having plants ready too early, or worse plants that bloom too late because they were sown too late!

How do I grow nicotiana?


Flowering tobacco. Beautiful trumpet shaped blooms all summer. Some types are sweetly scented. 18" tall.

Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds. Patio containers. Tall types look wonderful in cottage type gardens
Recommended Varieties.
Domino mixed, Havana mixed, Domino Lime, Domino Salmon Pink, Havana Appleblossom.
Only The Lonely. 3ft tall, white drooping blooms.

How do I grow Nemesia?


A very cheerful plant available in many colours. Cut back hard after first flush of bloom. 12" tall.
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Cover seeds with vermiculite.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds.

Recommended Varieties.
Sundrops mixed, Sparklers.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Chrysanthemum carinatum. (syn. tricolor)

The very pretty annual Chrysanthemum with large single daisy blooms in a kaleidoscope of colours. Many plants have 3 distinct colours in the one flower. foliage is attractively fern-like.
Try "Court Jesters" for masses of colourful cut flowers all summer. 2 ft.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?


Grown for it's intense sky blue flowers which are attractive to bees.
Grow the compact "Blue Angel" at the front of the border or in patio tubs. 9"

How do I grow sweet peas

Queen of the Annuals

There are many excellent easily grown climbing annuals to choose from: Canary Creepers, Morning Glory, Chilean Bell Flower, even the humble Nasturtium.
None have the sweet scent and flamboyant colour range of the Queen of all climbing annuals, the Sweet Pea.

How do I prick out my seedlings?

Pricking Out: (8) The Technique.

You have pre-soaked the filled trays with fungicide and have set your work place up for your personal comfort, now you are ready for pricking out!
The tool sold for pricking out is called a dibber. In practice a pencil or sharpened split cane is eminently more suitable.
(A) Gently lever the seedlings out of the seed tray with the pencil.
(B) Lift an individual seedling by the leaf using the thumb and forefinger.(Avoid touching the easily damaged stem).
(C) Make a hole in the compost surface with the pencil, just deep and wide enough to take the seedling's roots.
(D) Transfer the seedling into the hole.(The seed leaves should be level with the compost surface).
(E) Firm in gently using the pencil.
(F) Repeat till the tray is complete.
(G) Write and attach a label and move the completed tray to where it will be grown on.
(H) Lightly water the seedlings in using a watering can with a fine rose.

Why should I use fungicide?

Pricking Out: (6) Pre- Treat With Fungicide.

Pre- soak the filled trays with Cheshunt Compound or any fungicide that is recommended for damping-off of seedlings. This is a preventative measure and should ensure that your precious seedlings remain free of the common fungal diseases such as botrytis, pythium and phytopthora, (All are usually lumped together under the name "Damping off")

What type of seed tray is best?

Seed trays, Pots and Pans.

Use sturdy, reusable plastic pots, pans (dwarf pots) and seed trays. Thin plastic disposable types tend to bend when full of compost.
This is infuriating as it causes the nice, flat compost surface to crack.
Sometimes the tray may even break in half, spoiling all your hard work and causing mass use of unsavoury language! The voice of experience? You bet !

What is the cheapest way to fill my garden with plants?

An Introduction.

In general, growing plants from seed is the easiest and cheapest form of producing lots of new plants. Nothing could be more natural and satisfying in the gardening world.
I grow around half a million plants from seed a year and in this section, I give hints and tips on how to get the best from your seeds.

How do I prepare a Hardy Annual border.

Choice Of Plants.

There are dozens of hardy annuals to choose from. Make sure you choose a range of heights and colours.
Have a look at the my hardy annual section to assist with your selection

How do I grow sweet peas?

The Dwarfs ,

Small blooms on non-climbing plants. Available as mixtures. Can be planted into a bed or border, but look at their best in patio containers and hanging baskets. A little over 12" in height.

How do I grow Livingstone Daisies?

Livingston Daisy.

Mesembryanthemum,(syn Dorotheanthus), have glistening daisy blooms that open in the sun and succulent leaves that appear to have been sprinkled with sugar. 4" tall.

Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Sunny borders, banks and rockeries.

Recommended Varieties.
Lunette, Sparkles, Harlequin Mixed.

Is there an easy way to sow seeds?

Easy Seed Sowing: (4) Covering The Trays.

All seeds need high humidity whilst germinating. The traditional method was to cover with glass and newspaper, nowadays this has largely been superseded by milky polythene.
If you have a propogator, this stage is unnecessary as the plastic lid provides the necessary conditions.
Place the sown seed trays on your greenhouse benching and place some thin bamboo canes diagonally across them and roll out some thin milky polythrne on top.
Clear polythene will do, but you may have to place some newspaper on top to prevent sunscorch.

Is there a natural looking Sweetpea support?

Save That Tree.

Forgot to recycle that Christmas tree? In spring time "plant" the old skeleton in the centre and sow or plant sweet peas around it.
The effect of the flower covered tree is breathtaking and very natural looking.
this free standing cenerpiece looks marvelous in a large tub or, better still adding height to an annual bedding scheme.

When do I sow Sweet pea seeds indoors?

The Best Months for Sowing

February and March are good months to sow some Sweet Peas seeds indoors for planting out late April.
Read on for all the tricks on sowing and growing Sweet Peas for a beautiful display from June onwards.

How do I fill a seed tray?

Filling A Seed Tray: The Correct Method.

As with everything else, there is a right and a wrong way to fill up a seed tray prior to sowing seeds.
(1) Overfill the tray.
(2) Tap the tray once to settle the compost.
(3) Press the compost into the corners with your fingers.
(4) Level off the compost by placing a striker, (Any odd piece of rectangular strapping wood),
across the middle of the tray. Using a "sawing" motion, scrape off the excess compost from the middle of the tray , to the left edge. Replace the striker in the middle and scrape to the right edge.
(5) Place the presser board in the tray and press down until the top edge of the presser is level with the top edge of the seed tray.
Why all the detail for such a simple task?

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Crepis rubra.

Looking for all the world like pretty lilac-pink dandelions, Crepis is easy to grow and long flowering. 18"tall.

What are the advantages of having a greenhouse?

Breed Your Own Unique Plants

When you become a little experienced, producing a plant variety of your very own is a strong possibility. It may not be a "world beater," but it is unique to you. Imagine having a plant variety that no one in the world has!
Many successful Fuchsias, Roses and Dahlias are the result of amateur "dabblings."

How do I prepare a Hardy Annual border.

Dried Flowers

Many types of hardy annual flowers can be dried for everlasting bouquets.
Good sorts are
Larkspur , Statice, Helichrysum, Silybum Clary and Bells of Ireland.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Clarkia elegans.

A marvellous old-fashioned plant with masses of small double blooms in shades of pink, white and purple.
Try "Brilliant Mixed" for a long lasting display and a plentiful supply of cut flowers. 2 ft.

Are peat free seed mixes any good?

Peat Free Seeding Mixes

In these days of reduced peat use and peat free mixes, the bad news is that nothing replaces peat mixes for seed sowing indoors. The plain fact is that although seeds will germinate in such mixes, they do not stay healthy for long.

What ,exactly ,are Hardy Annuals?

Hardy Annuals: The Definition.

True hardy annuals are plants that you sow outside which grow, flower and die in the same year.
The advantages of growing these plants are:
(1)Cost effectiveness: You can grow masses of colorful, plants for just the cost of the seeds.You don't need a greenhouse,compost or trays.
(2)You can't buy half grown plants in the stores: Many hardy annuals resent root disturbance so nurseries tend not to grow them.
(3)Many types make good cutflowers.
(4)Easily grown: Introduce yourself and your children to the wonders of growing plants from seed.
(5)Cottage gardening: Hardy annuals fit in with the current re-interest in this style of gardening and seed suppliers have reintroduced heritage types.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Godetia grandiflora.

Beautiful, poppy like blooms with petals like satin. The semi-double type "Azalea Flowered Mixed" is a lovely old favourite with blooms in a wide range of colours and growing to 18."
The stunning "Sybil Sherwood" is a gorgeous shade of salmon, edged with white. 14" Good cut flower.

How do I train exhibition quality Sweet peas?

Training Exhibition Sweet Peas.

Exhibition sweetpeas are trained as single stemmed plants, all the side shoots and tendrils are removed
so all the plants energies go into producing flowers. The result is larger flowers on long , straight stems.

The growing method is called cordon training and is similar to single stem tomato culture.

The best quality plants are those that are sown early,either October and overwintered or February at the latest.
When the seedlings have a couple of pairs of leaves, pinch out the growing tip.This causes three or four side shoots to form.Usually ,one of these is much stronger than the others keep this and cut off the others.

You need to build a framework consisting of two 7' tall tee pieces strung with a line of fencing wire on each side. Next at 6" intervals push in 8' long bamboo canes along both sides of the framework and attach the tops of the canes to the wire supports
During late April or May, harden off the young Sweet peas and plant out one per cane.
This is the stage that dediction is called for. As the plants grow,tie them to the canes and constantly remove any side shoots that form and the curly tendrils.
When the plants reach the wire supports, untie them lay them along the base of the canes and carefully train tie the tips of the plants to the the sixth cane aklong the row. The end plants are wrapped around the corners and trained on the sixth cane around the corner.

Your reward for your labors? Armfulls of multi headed fragrant Sweet peas on two feet long , straight stems.

What are the advantages of having a greenhouse?

Growing Plants That You Want

Imagine not being restricted to what the gardening trade think you should be growing.
Many modern bedding plants are bred for "pack performance," which means if a plant does not fit into this ideal, by being perhaps a bit tall or untidy in it's method of growth, the "commercial boys" will not grow it.
There are literally thousands of types of bedding plants that do not fit this tidiness factor and many make excellent garden plants. Grow them yourself!

What is the best way to sow seeds indoors?

Easy Seed Sowing: (5) How Long does Germination Take?.

Germination varies with the seed type. F1 Hybrid Geraniums can germinate overnight, whereas Begonias normally take 2 weeks.
Regardless of bedding plant type, germination should be complete within 3 weeks.
Remove the polythene and check your sowings at least once every day. If seedlings have appeared, move the tray to an area of good light , but not bright sunshine.
If you can see no sign of seedlings, replace the polythene cover.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Iberis, (Candytuft).

A cheerful throw and grow hardy annual with flowers in shades of pink, lilac, white and purple.
The old favourite is "Dwarf Fairy Mixed , which grows no taller than 6".

How do I grow sweet peas

The Grandifloras.

This is the most popular type,epitomised by the large flowered, wavy edged Spencer Sweet Pea, originally bred by an ancester of the late Princess of Wales.
The Spencers are good for general garden display and cutting , and are also the choice of the exhibitor
Colour range is extensive: countless named varieties and some beautiful mixtures are available.Grow to 6ft plus.

How do I grow Lobelia?


The well known edging plant 4" tall. . Trailing types are the premier annuals for planting through the sides of hanging baskets. 8 " tall.

Sow Seeds:
Indoors during Feb/March.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover seeds.
Prick out seedlings in clumps.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds, Patio containers. Hanging baskets

Recommended Varieties.
For edging : Cambridge Blue, Regatta Blue and White., Mrs Clibran.Crystal Palace
Trailing types: Sapphire, Cascade Mixed , Fountain Rose, Fountain Lilac, Fountain White

What are the best ways to prevent seed problems?

Avoiding Problems When Sowing Seeds Indoors.

Prevention is better than cure, an old saying, but one to live by when working with seeds.
The main problems you are likely to encounter are preventable.
So to avoid problems, always make sure that you:
(1) Thoroughly clean and disinfect your greenhouse: Old leaves and traces of last years compost can carry disease.
(2) Never use dirty pots and seed trays: Many seedling diseases are soil borne.
(3) Never reuse compost: Disease may be present.
(4) Never sow seeds thickly: Overcrowding invariably leads to weak, disease prone seedlings.
(5) Use a compost recommended for seed sowing: Potting mixes contain too much fertiliser for seedlings.
(6) Never sow too early: Plants may be ready before it is safe to plant out doors.
(7) Always use new seed: Results will be disappointing if you use last years seeds, especially if the seed packet has been opened.
Seems like a big fuss, but believe me these points will save you a lot of heartache!

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Echium plantagineum

Upward-facing bell shaped flowers in pink, blue, lilac and white. Very attractive to bees and butterflies. "Blue Bedder " is a particularly fine variety. 12" Tall.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Bartonia aurea.

A lovely sunny- yellow flower with a boss of golden stamens. Resembles the Rose of Sharon.
20" tall.

How do I grow Mimulus?


A usefull quick growing annual in beautiful colours. Good in shade. 12" tall
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover.
Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Summer flower beds, Patio containers, hanging baskets.

Recommended Varieties.
Calypso mixed, Pastel magic mixed.

how do I grow Petunias?

Junior Petunia.

Petunia milliflora is a wonderful small flowered, very compact, new type of Petunia.
Does very well even in wet areas where rain normally ruins Petunia displays. 10"tall.
Sow Seeds:
Indoors during March/April.18-20 degrees centigrade. Do not cover.

Plant Out:
Early June.

Principal Uses.
Edging summer flower beds, Patio containers, hanging baskets.

Recommended Varieties.
Fantasy Blue, Fantasy Pink Morn, Fantasy Ivory, Fantasy Crystal Red, Fantasy Salmon, Fantasy Mixed, Fantasy Carmine.

What are true leaves?

The True Leaves.

When seedlings are a few days old, leaves develop from the centre of the seed leaves which are different in shape to the seed leaves . These are called the true leaves and they have all the characteristics as the mature plant.

Is there an easy way to sow seeds?

Easy Seed Sowing: (3) Don't Forget The Label.

Write out a 4"plastic "stick " label with an ordinary pencil. The so-called permanent markers often fade through time. Biros fade within the week!
Write the date across the square end of the label. It is always a good practice to write the plant name and variety from the square end rather than the pointed end of the label, so that you can read the label without having to take it out of the tray.
As you will be covering the sown tray with polythene, place the label initially on its side at one end of the tray.

Which factors are necessary for a seed to grow?

Germination: The Ideal Conditions

Germination is the process where, given the right conditions, a seed begins to grow.
These conditions are:
(1) Moisture: If moisture cannot penetrate the seed coat, the seed cannot grow.
(2) Oxygen: If the compost is too wet or too heavily compacted, the availablity of oxygen is impaired and the seed cannot grow.
(3) Warmth: Warmth stimulates the chemical changes within the seed, which allow growth to start
All of these factors interact to mobilise the seed's food store, which the embryo must depend on until it produces leaves and roots.
Soon after germination, (4) Light, is required for the seedling, as this provides it with the energy it needs to manufacture food, (By this stage,the seeds limited food store has been used up during the germination process.)Seed Sowing: Germination- The Basics.
Germination is the process where, given the right conditions, a seed begins to grow.
These conditions are:
(1) Moisture: If moisture cannot penetrate the seed coat, the seed cannot grow.
(2) Oxygen: If the compost is too wet or too heavily compacted, the availablity of oxygen is impaired and the seed cannot grow.
(3) Warmth: Warmth stimulates the chemical changes within the seed, which allow growth to start
All of these factors interact to mobilise the seed's food store, which the embryo must depend on until it produces leaves and roots.
Soon after germination, (4) Light, is required for the seedling, as this provides it with the energy it needs to manufacture food, (By this stage,the seeds limited food store has been used up during the germination process.)

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Gypsophilla. (Baby's Breath)

Frothy clouds of tiny white flowers, similar to the florists Gypsophylla and also makes a good cutflower. "Covent Garden White" grows to 2 ft.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Anagallis. (Pimpernel).

An old time favourite who's flowers open during sunny weather. Once known as the Poor Man's Weather Glass. Pretty star -shaped flowers in red , pink or blue.
A good variety is "Blue Pimpernel" with cornflower blue blooms. 8" tall.

How do I sow seeds?

The Seed Sower's Guide.

(1) Always use fresh seed compost.
(2) Bring the compost into the greenhouse to "heat up" a day or so before you start sowing.
(3) Always use clean pots and trays, as diseases can be carried over.
(4) Use new seeds only.( Never use seed open seed packets from last year.)
(5) Fill and firm the trays using my guideline.
(6) Know the seeds that you are planting.( Most seeds need to be covered, but not all)
(7) Always pre-drench the seed compost with a pre-emergence fungicide. Cheshunt compound is traditional and works extremely well.
(8) Do not sow seeds too thickly. The result is always weak, spindly seedlings that are prone to disease.
(9) Provide the correct germination temperature for the type of plant being sown. Most bedding plants will germinate at between 15 and 20 degrees centigrade. In my experience temperatures slightly below 15 degrees delay germination.Temperatures above 20 degrees seriosly reduce the seedling emergence.
(10) Never let seed trays dry out as this is always fatal. Check every day and water lightly when necessary.

Which are the best Hardy annuals?

Centaurea cyanus, (The Cornflower).

Cornflowers are traditional cottage garden flowers and the blue shades are justly popular.
The Victorians adored the deep maroon which can still be found in the popular mix, "Polka Dot" alongside the blue shades, pink and white. 18" tall.
Look out for the very compact new F1 hybrids, "Florence Blue," "Florence Pink" and "Florence White" which grow to 12." Cornflowers make good cutflowers.

which seeds Can I sow indoors during April?

The April Seed Sowing Schedule.

The following summer bedding plants can be sown this month and will be ready to plant out Late May/Early June.
(1) French Marigolds: Around mid month is soon enough..

(2) African Marigolds.

(3) Junior Petunias.

(4) Tagetes : A usefull a edging plant.

(5) Verbena aublietia "Perfecta"

(6) Mimulus: Great for the shade and in bloom 6 weeks from sowing.

(7) Lavatera: Great cut flower

(8) Cosmea: Look out for "Sonata mixed" Stunning! and half the height of traditional Cosmos.

(9) Salvias: Look out for Salvia "Salsa Mixed" an unusual mixture.

(10) Dahlias: Dwarf bedding types.

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Lynne Christen