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What Plants Grow the Fastest From Seeds?

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For many gardeners, waiting for seeds to germinate and plants to grow is part of the hobby’s reward. For others, however, it can be maddening, especially if you are gardening with children. Distract impatient growers with fast-growing plants while they wait for the rest of the garden to catch up.

Annual Flowers

Many flowering plants sprout and grow rapidly, and they provide the added benefit of splashes of color for your yard. Sweet alyssum, celosia, cornflower or bachelor button, marigold and cosmos sprout within five to seven days. Zinnias, sunflowers and morning glories bring even more color and quick growth, while fast-growing nasturtiums multitask as garden beauties that you can add to salads or as dinner-plate garnishes.

Perennial Flowers

Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis) will add to your garden year after year, while black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) are biennial or perennial plants, depending on the varieties you select. These flowery plants will germinate in five to 10 days and grow quickly after sprouting. Other perennial choices include blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis), blanket flower (Gaillardia x gradiflora), rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) and gaura (Gaura lindheimeri). All of these perennials are hardy in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, while many thrive through zone 10.

Herbs

Not only do many herbs germinate and grow quickly, they add fragrance to the garden and flavor to your menu. Consider basil, which sprouts in about four days, or chives, cilantro and dill, which make their appearance seven to 14 days after planting. Mint grows quickly, as well, but you’ll probably want to plant it in containers to keep it from invading other areas. Garden cress adds a sharp aroma and a peppery taste to dishes.

Vegetables

Several vegetables grow very quickly, including most types of lettuce and radishes. Cucumbers germinate within seven to 10 days, as well, and mustard greens, spinach, scallions and turnips hold their own in the race. Blue Lake and Pencil Wax bean varieties are especially suitable for quick gardening, and cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon, with their four- to six-day germination period make excellent garden additions.

Miscellaneous Plants

Noted in Thomas Jefferson’s garden journal as early as 1812, hyacinth bean vines can grow 6 to 20 inches in a single season, twining through the garden, their maroon seedpods and purple flowers bringing tropical drama to the landscape. Grasses, especially wheat grass and rye, also grow quickly. Add a little fun by growing grass in a hollowed potato decorated with craft wiggle eyes, so that it seems to grow green hair.

  • KidsGardening: Fast-Germinating Seeds
  • Fine Gardening: Five Fast-Growing Perennials That Flower Their First Year From Seed
  • Los Angeles Times: Plant Radish Seeds and Watch Them Grow Fast
  • Urban Farmer Seeds: Quick Growing Vegetables — Urban Farmer’s Guide
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • National Gardening Association: How to Grow Herbs From Seed
  • Mother Earth News: 12 Best Kitchen Herbs

Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.

What Plants Grow the Fastest From Seeds?. For many gardeners, waiting for seeds to germinate and plants to grow is part of the hobby’s reward. For others, however, it can be maddening, especially if you are gardening with children. Distract impatient growers with fast-growing plants while they wait for the rest of …

Fast Growing Seeds for Kids

Here are some great ideas for fast growing seeds – perfect for kids!

First: Get Your Supplies!

Next: Get to Work!

Whether you are introducing your kids to gardening, or making crafts or science projects that involve growing seeds – it can often be beneficial to use seeds that sprout quickly! I did some research and tried out various options. One of our favorite ways to plant seeds is in plastic cups. Cheap, transportable (great for classrooms!) but also you can actually see the roots forming!

Vegetables and Herbs:

Radishes, lettuce, basil and salad cress (more common in the UK than in the US!)

We planted radish and basil seeds and grew them inside. The radishes were SUPER fast, sprouting in just three days. This photo was taken after six days:

The basil took a little longer, this was after two weeks:

Annual flowers:

Sweet alyssum, celosia, cornflower or bachelor button, marigold, cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers, morning glories and nasturtiums.

We planted some sunflower seeds outside but they didn’t sprout for two weeks – although we did have a couple of unexpected cold days during that time that may have delayed them.

Perennial flowers:

Dianthus, black-eyed Susan, Sweet William, blackberry lily, blanket flower, rose campion and gaura.

We planted some Sweet William seeds in plastic cups and although not as fast as the radish, they were fairly speedy! This photo was after a week:

And don’t forget grass! We didn’t have any grass seed to try out but they are perfect for crafts like this Grass Head activity from Red Ted Art.

To increase the chance of any of these seeds growing faster – you can also try planting them in Seed Starter Mix! Or try this wildflower mix of annuals and perennials – everything you need in one bag!

Fast Growing Seeds for Kids Here are some great ideas for fast growing seeds – perfect for kids! First: Get Your Supplies! Next: Get to Work! Whether you are introducing your kids to