General Seed Growing Info

General advice on growing plants from seeds


Whether you like to grow flowering annuals, perennial plants or herb or vegetables, it’s very satisfying and rewarding growing plants from seeds. Outlined here are the basics but the correct conditions will vary for each species which will be included with your seed packet.


Start your seed growing by assembling all the materials you will need. Sow in plant pots, or seeds trays preferably new or clean. It will be helpful to have plant labels, a permanent marker and log book, and a heated or non-heated propagator or greenhouse. You can also just cover your seed container with clear plastic if you wish.


We prefer to use a soil-less compost, as soil based composts generally give less good results. It is advisable moisten the soil at room temperature to avoid fungus (Pythium spp) which young seedlings are particularly


vulnerable too, and spray the surface of the compost with a fungicide.


Some seeds will need a pre-soaking process which we will go to later in this chapter.


Sow the seed thinly and evenly onto the compost or into small holes, making sure they are not crowded making it easier to transplant the seedlings when the time comes. Cover the seeds lightly with soil, fine seeds leave uncovered, Pelleted seeds should not be covered either. Some seeds need special conditions to germinate; some light some dark so check for any specific requirements. Depending on the variety seeds will have a slow germination time or will germinate in a short time, so be patient.


When seedlings are large enough to handle they will need pricking out and potting on. Always handle seedlings by the leaves and not the stem, as just slight pressure could damage the seedling.


Sowing Times


It is important to sow seeds at the appropriate time as indicated on the seed packet or instructions. Europe and Northern Europe sowing times will need to be adjusted but as a general guide these are the sowing times:


HA (hardy annuals) February-May. Make the sure the soil has had sufficient time to warm after the winter months if sown directly outside. Some hardy annuals can be sown late summer early autumn for flowering early the flowing summer.


HHA (half hardy annuals) January-April


HP,HB (hardy perennials, hardy biennials) April-July


TA (tender plants, including most bedding plants) December-March


Germinate the seeds at the appropriate temperature for each species. Most varieties, although there is some exceptions will happily germinate in the range of 18Ëš-22ËšC. Never overheat seeds in direct sunshine, and make sure the correct moisture levels and temperatures are adhered too.


This is just a general outline, there are many gardening sites and forums online who offer excellent advice