Selecting Garden Seeds

Garden seed catalogs provide plenty of choices for garden seeds to grow as seedlings indoors or to plant directly in the flowerbed or vegetable garden when the soil temperature warms in spring.

Seed companies favor different kinds of plants, though they may have similar seed sources, not unlike what you see when visiting independent nurseries and book stores. If you look at several and pick two or three catalogs that appeal most, they can also be references later when you plant.

Seed catalogs, whether in hand or online, vary in gardening helps such as planting tips or soil preparation or when to plant. Some seeds don’t have expected heights of plants on the packets but include that and other hints in the catalog.

Like the need to curb the overwhelming urge to bring home all the bright flowers on the first spring visit to the greenhouse, working from a plan is helpful when deciding garden seeds in the catalog.

The plan be as simple as: What worked last season that you want to amplify? Or what flowers will bloom in late summer? Or what varieties of vegetables need new hybrids due to recurring diseases? Garden photos are great reminders. Many annuals require full sun to grow—How much sunny garden space is there? What shade or part-sun plant seeds are available?  Of course, colors and foliage shapes and textures matter.

One of the annuals I grow from seeds are Four-O’clocks. They grow in this area from direct seed planting and many new colors in this old standby are available, such as this one fuchsia with lime-colored leaves.


Vincas are annuals that may be started from seed. They are available in many colors and are heat-lovers. This region is known for heat spikes in summer and these plants can take it. They are slow growers in a cool spring, however. Vincas to transplant are often available at the greenhouse.


Zinnias are available in many plant and flower sizes. These were started ahead from seeds and used as a border of taller plants. Other zinnia seed may be directly planted in soil in spring. Direct-seeded plants need patience while waiting longer for them to grow and then bloom.


These perennial Echinacea hybrids can be grown from seed indoors and do over-winter in general winter conditions.


Some perennial plants, such as milkweed varieties, are grown to attract pollinators as well as for their flowers and seed pods. These were grown from seed indoors.


Of course, decisions about which seeds to select lead to more questions. Sometimes one tries a few seeds to see how they grow before investing more time and money. Part of gardening is getting to choose.

Your thoughts?










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