Growing annual flowers such as marigolds, zinnias and cosmos from seed is an inexpensive way to have a wonderful garden. Seeds are sold in packets each year by many different seed companies, some providing higher quality or more options than others. Garden centers, nurseries, and hardware stores locally sell seeds starting in winter. Seed catalogs are available by autumn's end for winter wishing, and online seed sellers fill orders year round.
Depending on your climate and region, fresh, new-season packets of flower seeds are placed on display for sale in local garden centers, nurseries and hardware stores in autumn or winter. The warmer your climate, such as Florida, the earlier your flower seeds are encountered, as early as October or November. In cold winter climates, expect flower seeds to be on sale in local retailers anytime from January until late spring. The best seed companies time-stamp their seed packets; be sure to check the dates on seed packets to make sure you are buying the freshest seeds.
Seed companies print and mail out new seed catalogs in the mid- to late autumn. Contact the companies by telephone, traditional mail or online to request a printed catalog to be mailed to your home. Some seed companies specialize in flowers, and offer a wide variety of flower seeds. Selection and prices may be best early in winter, as supplies of certain popular flower seeds dwindle as the majority of orders nationwide are filled by midwinter or early spring. Try to place orders no later than the middle of February.
Many seed companies sell their address lists to related companies; don't be surprised if you order a few catalogs and receive a deluge of catalogs from different companies.
Many seed companies that traditionally have printed and mailed seed catalogs also have a presence on the Web. As an alternative to contacting the seed companies and requesting a catalog, often their websites carry their catalog offerings for immediate perusal, and the better companies provide additional information about planting, care, and harvesting. Orders can be placed online, too.
Although orders made on-line are received immediately and processed, the shipping of seeds is determined by the season, company policies and availability. Placing orders electronically should still be made before midwinter to ensure the flower seed and amount you want.