Gardening with flower seeds is an excellent way to cut costs. One packet of flower seeds contains seeds at a fraction of the price for established plants. Gardening with flower seeds is a way to try more varieties of plants. Growing them from seed often produces stronger plants that are not as prone to diseases as store-bought plants. With some time, patience and careful planning, your flower garden can be a success.
Select your seeds by planning what flowers you want to grow in your garden. Consider color and plant height when making your choices. If you want cut flowers, edible flowers or flowers for an additional purpose, be sure to include those varieties. You may want to include flowers that reseed, so you can save seed for the next year.
Choose seeds for flowers that are hardy or native to your area for best results. Find out what your USDA hardiness zone is by looking at a zone map on the Internet or in a gardening book. You can also find out what zone you live in by calling a local botanical garden.
Acquire your flower seeds up to two months before planting time. You will need this time to plan and for your seeds to grow if you start them indoors. Purchase your flower seeds at your local gardening store or from a catalog. You can also swap seeds with a fellow gardener to save even more money.
Start your flower seeds indoors if you want to get a head start on your flower garden. Fill a container or tray 2/3 deep with a seed-starting soil mixture. Add water and mix until the soil is moist, but not drenched. Sow your seeds in the container according to the package's directions.
Cover your flower seeds lightly with plastic wrap. Place seed containers or trays away from the sun until they germinate. After germination, when the seed opens and you see the plant emerging from the soil, remove the plastic wrap. Place your flower seedlings in the sun for six to eight hours each day.
Maintain moisture in the soil without damaging the seedlings by using a spray bottle to water. After the seedlings are mature and sturdy, having three leaves or more, harden them off. Place them outside for two to four hours each day, increasing the time each day. You will know the stems have hardened off when you can leave them outside all day without the seedlings wilting.
Planting in the Garden
Prepare the garden soil for the flower seeds and seedlings by adding new gardening soil to a sunny area of your garden and loosening it with a shovel. Add a small amount of fertilizer and mix into the soil. You will be ready to plant your seeds directly in the garden or to transplant your seedlings when all danger of frost has passed in your area. You can find out when the last frost date will be by consulting a local weather company or your local botanical garden.
Sow the flower seeds directly in the soil if you have not already started them indoors. Follow the package directions and keep the soil well-watered until the seeds germinate. You can cover the soil with a very thin layer of straw or grass clippings to retain moisture, but not so thick that the seedlings cannot find their way through the mulch. Be sure to place the seeds and seedlings for the taller flowers in the back of the flower bed.
Transplant seedlings by digging a hole twice as deep as the root ball in the flower bed. Cover the roots of the soil and pat the soil down gently. Water well and keep the soil consistently wet until the seedling is established. You will know it is established when the growth takes off. Follow the package directions for water and sun exposure requirements.
About this Author
Bobbie Brewer has been writing since 1990. Her work has appeared in publications and on Web sites including Garden Guides and Trails. Brewer is an international traveler, outdoors enthusiast and has been gardening since 1991. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University, Sacramento.