How to sow seeds

Sowing seeds is undoubtedly the cheapest way of getting a large number of new plants. While some seeds require special treatment, generally it’s very easy to get seeds to grow, and you can quickly end up with more plants than you know what to do with! Seedlings tend to establish well and are usually virus free (even if the parent plant had a virus).

However, there are some downsides to sowing seeds. Plants grown from seed take 2 to 5 times longer to reach flowering size, they may vary from the parent (eg in colour, size and hardiness) and you can’t tell the gender of the plant from the seed. This is important for dioecious plants, if you want to have fruits, and on plants which have foul smelling fruits which you want to avoid.

Vegetables, such as lettuces, and ornamental annual seeds are often grown in batches every 2 to 4 weeks (called succession sowing), rather than all at once, to extend the cropping or flowering period.

About seed dormancy

Overcoming seed dormancy

Sowing seeds in pots or trays

Sowing seeds in the ground

Aftercare of seedlings

You may also be interested in our information on collecting seeds from your own garden.