Buying Seeds to grow flowers

The seed packet is one of the corner-stones of gardening and is the standard method for raising annuals and biennials. You can obtain a much wider range of varieties from seed than is possible if you rely on buying bedding plants. Some perennials can be readily raised from seed. Look for types marked F1 hybrid – this means that the variety has been carefully bred to have more vigour and produce more attractive blooms than the standard types. Expensive, but usually worth theextra cost. Seed Stripsand Seed Mats have failed to become popular, but Starter Kits are widely available at seed sowing time. Plastic trays have been filled with Seed Compost and are pre-sown – the transparent lid is used to provide cover during the pre-germination stage. Useful if you are short of time, but the range of plants offered is limited and the cost is understandably higher than starting from scratch.


Good signs

Compact, sturdy stems. Even plant growth

Bad signs

Plants in full flower

Lanky stems

Blemished, yellow or diseased leaves

Roots growing through base

Bedding annuals and biennials aresold in wooden or plastic trays (’flats’). Buy from a supplier with a good reputation or one who has pleased you in previousyears-you are bound to be disappointed if the seedlings have not been properly hardened off. Never buy half hardy annuals before the recommended planting time. If you can, buy a whole box and not just a few plants wrapped in newspaper.

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