How to Grow Seeds Indoors


It seems as though winter never ends when you have seeds waiting to be planted. Get started on the gardening season early by planting your seeds indoors. Not only does this give you a chance to dig into the dirt while it's still cold outside, plants started indoors are often healthier and produce larger flowers or more fruit than those seeded later in the season outdoors. Most seeds can be started indoors and later transplanted outside, check the back of the seed packet to make sure for each individual plant variety.

Step 1

Determine planting time from the planting information printed on the seed packet. Plant seeds 4-8 weeks before they can be planted outdoors---after the last predicted frost in your area for most varieties.

Step 2

Fill seedling pots or seed trays with sterilized seed-starting soil. Make your own soil mix by combining one part peat moss, one part sterilized compost and one part coarse sand or perlite.

Step 3

Water the soil in each pot until it is evenly moist throughout. Add water until it begins coming out of the drainage holes on the bottom of the pots.

Step 4

Sow three seeds in the center of each individual pot or space seeds 2 inches apart in flats, planting in rows. Sow very small seeds on the soil surface and cover with a 1/4 inch layer of fine soil.

Step 5

Cover pots or flats with plastic cling wrap to help retain soil moisture. Place in a warm area to germinate, approximately 7 to 21 days depending on plant variety.

Step 6

Check pots daily for germination. Remove plastic wrap as soon as the first seedling emerges and move the pots to a warm sunny window or place under grow lights.

Step 7

Keep soil moist at all times. Fertilize with a half strength solution of liquid houseplant fertilizer when the seedlings are two weeks old then every two weeks thereafter until transplanting outdoors.

Tips and Warnings

  • Dig out and discard any plants and soil that show fungal growth to avoid spread to healthy seedlings.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Grow lights
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension
  • United States Department of Agriculture
Keywords: starting seeds, planting seedlings indoors, spring planting

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. 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.