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.

Purple Basil
Purple basil is both decorative and edible. (AnVyChicago/Getty Images)

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!

Check out our articles on How to Grow Basil and make Making Pesto Sauce to find out more.

Green Beans
Beans are easy to grow and harvest. (Hemera Technologies/Photo Images)

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.

Gaillardia is an impressive, fast growing perennial flower. (MollyNZ/Getty Images)

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 Gaillardia seeds outdoors after last frost when soil temperatures have reached 70° F, or start seeds indoors in late winter.

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.

Giant sunflower nodding hello. (tuku/pixabay)

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.

Colorful zinnia flowers can brighten any garden. (Cat2105/Getty Images)

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.

Zinnia seeds can be started indoors, but they grow so fast that it’s almost not worth the effort. Wait until soil temperatures are at least 70° F, and plant them about ¼” deep.

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.

Seed Planter
Seed planters are great to start your seeds before transplanting to gardens or pots. (shanecotee/Getty Images)

More Plants To Grow From Seed

Looking for more seed planting options? Here are some more plants that are easy to grow from seed:

AnnualsPerennialsVeggies & Herbs
Hyacinth BeanCoreopsisCucumbers
MarigoldShasta DaisyDill
NasturtiumYarrowGreens (Chard, Spinach, Lettuce)

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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