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A flower garden adds beauty and color to the garden and landscape. Planting flower seeds is significantly less expensive than buying flowers that are already started. Most flowers, particularly annuals, grow easily from seed. A beautiful garden is just a few steps away and getting an early start is a good way to be ready for the spring planting.
Before planting flower seeds, it is best to start the seeds indoors at least six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area. Most common garden annuals germinate quickly and will be ready to plant outdoors in this short period of time. Some flower seeds can take longer to germinate, however, and should be started as long as six months before spring planting. It is best to check the seed package or ask at the local garden center to determine the germination time required for different flower seeds.
Flower seeds have the best germination success when started in flats or pots filled with a sterile, soilless planting medium. Using garden soil or regular potting soil is not recommended, as it contains microbes that can cause the seeds to rot before germination occurs. Garden soil and potting soil is also heavy and likely to hold water around the seeds, leading to poor germination success. It is important to use seed flats or pots that have drainage holes in the bottom to allow water to escape.
The flower seeds should be placed on top of the soilless medium and covered with 1/8 to 1/4 inch (about 0.3 to 0.6 cm) of the material or placed in holes and covered. When planting flower seeds, it is important to get the depth right, as it varies depending on the type of flower. The best depth for planting flower seeds can be found by checking the seed package.
It is best to water the seeds by placing the pots or seed flats in water that comes half way up the sides of the pots. As the pots sit in the water, the soilless medium will gradually absorb water from the bottom up without disturbing the seeds. The seeds should be kept damp but not saturated until germination occurs.
Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, usually about 2 inches (5 cm) tall, they can be removed from the seed flats and planted in individual 2-inch (about 5-cm) containers filled with potting soil. When the ground thaws in the spring, the flower seedlings are ready to plant outdoors in the garden. Planting flower seeds is a rewarding way to add beauty to your garden.