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The Fastest Growing Flower Seeds

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If you are a new gardener or are working on a garden project with children, finding flower seeds that grow rapidly is important. The fastest-growing seeds germinate in a matter of days and flower in roughly two months. An important consideration for very young children is seed size, which should be big enough to pick up easily between thumb and finger, such as a nasturtium or sunflower seeds. In contrast, petunia seed is fine as dust.

Germination vs. Bloom Time

Some flower seeds, such as zinnias (Zinnia spp.), may germinate a few days after planting. Zinnias average from three to five days. However, that doesn’t mean they are among the fastest-growing flowers, because it can take zinnias 75 to 90 days to flower. Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) is another prime example. Although its seed germinates in seven to 10 days, cosmos doesn’t flower until 90 to 120 days after planting. In contrast, California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) may take about 21 days to germinate in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 10, but flowers within 60. The fastest-growing flower seeds are those that germinate in 14 days or less and flower within 70 days. These include marigold (Tagetes spp.), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) and sunflowers (Helianthus spp.). Aside from its genetic heritage, the speed of a flower’s growth depends on having its needs met. In the beginning, these conditions include seed planting depth and other germination concerns, such as light, temperature and moisture.

Impact of Seed Planting Depth

Planting a seed incorrectly can impede or end growth. Some seeds need light to germinate and must be sown on top of their growing medium, whether outdoors in the garden or indoors on seed flats. These include impatiens (Impatiens spp.) and petunias (Petunia spp.). For seeds that need darkness – such as those of calendula (Calendula spp.), phlox and sunflowers – a general rule is to plant at a depth twice the seed’s diameter. For example, large sunflower seeds require planting 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Marigolds, however, germinate whether planted under or on top of soil. Check seed packets for information about planting depth.

Other Needs for Quick Germination

Proper germination temperature and moisture also speed initial growth. Temperature requirements vary for the seeds of different plants. For example, the optimum daytime germination temperature for marigolds is 70 degrees Fahrenheit whereas snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.) like it colder at 65 F. For most flower seeds, the daytime temperature needs to be somewhere between 60 to 80 F, and nighttime temperatures should be 10 to 15 degrees cooler. For indoor seed starting, if you feel comfortable with the temperature in your house, your seeds likely will too. Moisten the soil before planting, because watering immediately after sowing can cause seeds and soil to shift haphazardly. Keep the soil moist but not soggy during germination to avoid rot.

Seeding Location and Growth

Some plants do better if seeded outdoors. If seeded indoors, transplanting may slow their growth. These plants include cosmos, marigolds, nasturtium, sunflowers and zinnias. The rule for seeding outdoors is to wait until the threat of frost has passed. Flowers that do better when seeded indoors include impatiens and petunias. For seeds planted indoors, the growth time different flowers need before outdoor transplanting varies. Although impatiens may not be ready for transplanting until about eight weeks old, zinnias started indoors will become leggy and root-bound if kept inside that long. Consequently, if starting seeds indoors, you need to time germination based on a transplanting date when the danger of frost will have passed.

The Fastest Growing Flower Seeds. If you are a new gardener or are working on a garden project with children, finding flower seeds that grow rapidly is important. The fastest-growing seeds germinate in a matter of days and flower in roughly two months. An important consideration for very young children is seed size, …

12 Best Annual Flowers to Grow From Seed

You can grow a lovely flower garden simply by directly sowing seeds of annual flowers. Starting seeds in the garden is easy, though it does require some patience. You won’t see many flowers for the first couple of months. But after they arrive, they often will bloom until frost hits. Unlike perennial flowers, which generally take two years to start blooming, annuals are quick growers and eager to get down to the business of blooming. Here are 12 of the easiest annual flowers to grow from seed.

It’s highly cost-effective to grow flowers from seed, as you’ll get more plants than if you purchased seedlings. Plus, depending on the conditions, some of these plants might reseed, giving you free plants for the next growing season.

Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)

Although most Centaurea species are perennials, such as mountain bluet (Centaurea montana), the old-fashioned bachelor’s button (also known as the cornflower) is an easy-growing annual. These flowers can be sown in early spring around your last frost date. The seeds like a chill, and the young seedlings can handle cooler temperatures. They take about 10 days to germinate and 50 to 60 days to bloom. You can reseed them in midsummer for a succession of blue blooms. Furthermore, bachelor’s button attracts beneficial insects, including ladybugs and lacewings.

  • Color Varieties: Blue
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

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Calendula, or pot marigold, is another lover of cool temperatures. Sow the seeds in the early spring right after your last frost date. They take approximately 10 days to germinate and 45 to bloom. These flowers are no relation to common marigolds (Tagetes sp.), though they are often yellow or orange and look vaguely similar. The flowers are edible with a citrus-like flavor. Older varieties are single flowered, but now there also are frilly double-flowered varieties. The singles seem to reseed more readily but not to the point of being a nuisance.

  • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Cosmos (Cosmos sp.)

You won’t find an easier flower to grow from seed than cosmos. They will grow in the worst soils, springing up into tall, frilly plants with flowers ranging from pastel to neon colors. They take between three and 10 days to germinate and 70 to 84 days to bloom. Cosmos are quintessential cottage garden flowers and make themselves useful when scattered in the vegetable garden to attract pollinators. Sow the seeds once the soil has warmed a bit after your last frost date. Cosmos bipinnatus is the most commonly available species, with daisy-like blooms on branched stems.

  • Color Varieties: Yellow, white, pink, orange, red
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Besides patience, annual flax requires little effort on your part. It takes around 18 to 21 days to germinate and 50 to 60 days to bloom. Mark the planting area, so you don’t accidentally plant something else where you’ve put its seeds. Sow the seeds after your last frost date. Flax plants can be floppy, so it helps to interplant them with sturdier flowers for support. Deadheading (removing spent flowers) will keep them blooming throughout the summer, and they will often reseed themselves.

  • Color Varieties: Blue, blue-violet, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Fertile, medium moisture, well-draining

Marigolds (Tagetes sp.)

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Marigolds have become somewhat ubiquitous, and that should tell you something about how easy they are to grow. Their large seeds are easy to handle, and they are very reliable growers. Sow the seeds directly in your garden after all danger of frost has passed, or start them indoors four to six weeks prior to your last frost date. They take around four to 12 days to germinate and 60 to 70 days to bloom. Pinching off spent blooms from young plants can encourage them to bush out and set more flower buds.

  • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, red
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)

If you’re seeking a fast-growing vine, look no further than morning glories. This flower doesn’t transplant well, so seeds should be directly sown in your garden after your last frost date. The seeds have a hard outer covering that germinates faster if it’s scarified (nicked or rubbed with sandpaper) and then soaked in water overnight. Germination can take around 10 days. Morning glories are late bloomers, often not flowering for around 100 days after they’re planted. Some people refer to them as back-to-school flowers because they bloom in August.

  • Color Varieties: Violet and white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

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The plump, round seeds of nasturtiums are easy to plant, germinating in around seven to 10 days. They tend to produce a mound of round leaves first and then nonstop bright, cheerful flowers after around 60 days. The whole plant is edible—even the seeds, which make great fake capers. Plant the seeds in your garden after the ground has had a chance to warm in the spring. Soaking and scarifying the seeds will improve germination.

  • Color Varieties: Red, orange, yellow, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-draining

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)

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Directly sowing love-in-a-mist plants in your garden is best. Plant them early in the spring by just sprinkling seed on the ground. They need light to germinate, so don’t cover the seed with soil. It takes them around 10 to 15 days to germinate and 65 to 75 days to bloom. The plants tend to tire out, so reseeding monthly will extend their blooming period. With luck, some will reseed for you. The blooms work well as cut flowers, and the seed pods dry well for displays.

  • Color Varieties: Blue, white, pink, purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Poppies (Papaver sp.)

Poppy plants are worth growing just to watch the drooping buds burst open and raise their heads high. Annual poppies don’t like being transplanted, so directly sowing in the garden is optimal. You can sow in early spring, even before the ground has thawed. The seeds need some light to germinate, so don’t cover them. Just press down on the seeds for them to make good contact with the soil. They take about two weeks to germinate, but when the weather warms they will shoot up. Blooming occurs in around 65 days. After the seed pods dry, you can shake the flat-topped seed heads throughout the yard to reseed.

  • Color Varieties: Red, purple, pink, white, yellow, orange
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

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With sunflowers, you get to plant a seed and watch it grow 6 feet tall or more. Some of the tallest varieties produce only one flower, but it’s usually a very large bloom. If you want more flowers, look for the branching varieties. Sow your seeds after the soil has warmed. They will take about two weeks to germinate and 75 to 100 days to bloom. Young seedlings often need protection from animals, such as birds. Plus, the taller varieties can get top heavy and might need staking. Deadheading the branching types will encourage more blooms.

  • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, copper, orange
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

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Sweet peas like cool but not cold temperatures. Gardeners in areas where spring goes right into a tropical heat wave typically have the toughest time growing sweet peas, so they should consider starting them indoors a few weeks before their last frost. The seeds take around 10 to 28 days to germinate and 50 to 65 days to bloom. Scarifying and soaking the seeds before planting can speed growth. Also, deadheading the plants can help to prolong their blooming period.

  • Color Varieties: Pink, blue, red, purple, peach, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining

Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)

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Colorful zinnias are one of the fastest-growing plants from seed. They are true annuals, not just tender perennials grown for a single season. They seem to know they only have a limited amount of time to grow, so they get to work quickly. Seeds take only around four to seven days to germinate and 50 to 55 days to bloom. Because they don’t like being transplanted, directly sow them outdoors as soon as the soil has had a chance to dry out and warm up.

  • Color Varieties: Pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, white, green
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining

Annual flowers offer blooms throughout the summer and are easy to start from seed. From marigolds to zinnias, here are 12 flowers to grow from seed.