One of the most economical ways to garden is to grow your plants from seeds. A two-dollar seed packet contains dozens to hundreds of seeds that are just waiting to fill your garden with colorful blossoms or nutritious food for your table!
If you’re new to growing plants from seeds, start with plants that are sure to give a good payoff. Read on to find out about five plants which are very easy to grow from seed.
If you plant them in the spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the bounty of flowers and vegetables by midsummer.
Plant #1: Basil
Basil is an annual plant that’s probably the easiest herb to grow from seed, and let’s face it – fresh summer pesto is one of the best things in the world! The plants are attractive enough to grow alongside your favorite flowers, and as a bonus basil is believed to repel bugs in the garden.
Basil seeds need soil temperatures of around 70° F to grow, so wait until all danger of frost has passed in the spring before planting. Another option is to start seeds indoors in late winter and move the seedlings outside when the weather warms up.
Plant basil seeds about ¼” deep in a sunny spot that’s sheltered from the wind as well as foot or animal traffic.
You should see seedlings in a couple of weeks and can start harvesting basil as soon as the plants are big enough to spare a few leaves. In fact pinching back leggy stems encourages the plants to branch out, so enjoy the early harvest!
Plant #2: Beans
Kids love planting beans, because the seeds literally pop out of the ground and unfurl the first leaves, and they’re large enough that you won’t miss the occasion.
From snap beans (like bush beans), to dry beans (such as pintos), to runner beans that have pretty flowers – there are so many choices, and all are easy to grow.
Plant beans directly in the garden after your last frost date when soil temperatures reach 60° F. Plant beans 1” deep and several inches apart, then thin them to 6” or more apart once they’re up and growing. Like other garden veggies, beans need full sun in order to produce.
Fast growing varieties (such as bush beans) benefit from succession planting. Start by planting half of your seeds, then wait 3-4 weeks before planting the rest. That way you extend the harvest and won’t have all your beans ripening at once.
Plant #3: Gaillardia
Gaillardia, also called blanket flower, is my favorite perennial to grow from seed. They’re easy to grow, beautiful and colorful, and they come back every year.
You can harvest the seeds to make more plants, and – unlike many perennials that take years to get established – there’s a good chance they’ll bloom the first summer.
Plant the seeds 1/8” deep in a location that receives full sun. If planting in a large area, you can simply loosen and rake the soil smooth, scatter the seeds on top of the ground, then gently rake to lightly cover them with soil.
Keep the area evenly watered. These plants make fairly large clumps, so thin the seedlings to 12” to 14” apart once they’re growing strong.
Plant #4: Sunflower
Who doesn’t love sunflowers? These majestic plants make quite a statement in the garden, and they’re amazingly easy to grow. Many varieties are available, from polite dwarfs to towering giants.
Sunflowers are annuals, so they’ll need to be replanted each spring; but that’s easy enough to do by harvesting the thousands of seeds they produce, if you can keep the birds from eating them all!
Sunflowers don’t transplant well, so it’s better to wait and plant them directly outside in a full sun location. Sow the seeds about 1” deep and at least 18” to 24” apart after the last frost when soil temperatures are at least 50° F.
Sunflowers sprout in about two weeks. Because the seeds are so large and the flowers so dramatic, this is another plant that kids love to grow.
Plant #5: Zinnia
Another annual flower that’s very easy to grow from seed, zinnias are my go-to choice for rental properties, borders, and large areas that need to be filled in fast. The blooms are spectacular and make great cut flowers, and you can harvest the seeds to replant next year.
If you do start zinnias indoors, use peat pots that can be directly planted, since they sometimes have trouble being transplanted. The seeds germinate in about a week.
Check out our article on How to Grow Zinnias to find out more.
More Plants To Grow From Seed
Looking for more seed planting options? Here are some more plants that are easy to grow from seed:
|Annuals||Perennials||Veggies & Herbs|
|Nasturtium||Yarrow||Greens (Chard, Spinach, Lettuce)|