How to Plant Flower Seeds Outside


Flower gardens add color and interest to the home landscape. Depending on the type of flowers, they may also attract butterflies, hummingbirds or other desirable wildlife to the garden. Starting flower seeds directly in the garden saves time because there is no need to tend indoor seedlings for weeks or months prior to planting. Although not all flowers do well sown directly outdoors, many do, so verify the planting directions on the seed packet before sowing.

Step 1

Spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the garden bed before planting, and then work it into the top 6 inches of the soil. Prepare a bed that is well-drained and receives the amount of sunlight recommended for the types of flowers you are growing.

Step 2

Prepare the flower seeds before planting if it is indicated on the seed packet. Scuff the seed coating with a metal file if scarification is required, such as for morning glory seeds. Alternately, soak these seeds in a bowl of warm water overnight to weaken the seed coat and aid germination.

Step 3

Sow seeds in the garden bed at the depth recommended on the seed packet, usually to a depth twice the seed's width. Sow flower seeds that require sunlight directly on the soil surface and press them lightly into the soil so that they are in full contact with the soil. Space or scatter seeds as recommended on the packet.

Step 4

Mist the bed with water, using a fine mist so that the seeds are not washed away. Water the bed as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy during germination.

Step 5

Thin the plants once seedlings emerge. Pluck out the excess seedlings to ensure the spacing recommended on the seed packet. In general, thin flowers so that they are spaced to a distance equal to half their mature height.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant flower seeds too early or too late in the spring, as seeds do not germinate if the soil is too cold or too warm. Follow the recommended planting time for your area as detailed on the seed packet.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost


  • Ohio State University Extension: Plant Propagation
  • Colorado State University Extension: Growing Plants From Seed
Keywords: planting flower seeds, sowing seed outside, direct sowing flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.