How To Sow Seeds

Toggle the seed names to learn more about each of our Gift of Seeds varieties. 

Read on below for general seed sowing instructions to ensure success.

Variety: Pycnosorus globosus 

Also commonly known as ‘Drumsticks’ and previously named ‘Craspedia’, Billy Buttons have lovely silver grey foliage with bright yellow ball shaped flower heads on the end of long stems.

They are a perennial wildflower native to both Australia and New Zealand and are extremely popular in floristry and event styling. They also make a great dried flower!

Billy Buttons are happy growing in a sunny, well-drained position. You can sow them directly where they are to grow after all danger of frost has passed, or start them in seed raising trays then transplant the seedlings when they have 2 sets of leaves. Cover seeds with only a light layer of soil as they need some light for germination and keep the soil moist. Germination may take up to 2 weeks.

Once well established in your garden, Billy Buttons will keep coming up for years.

Variety: Eschscholzia californica

Californian poppy seeds are best sown in spring and summer for blooming later in the season, however in mild climates, seeds can be sown in autumn for flowering in spring.  

Scatter Californian poppy seeds in a sunny position with well-draining soil free of weeds. Cover seeds with a thin layer of soil and keep them moist until the seeds have germinated. 

It’s best to sow Californian poppy seeds directly into the soil as they don’t tolerate their roots being disturbed. Once the seedlings have established, thin them out to 15cm apart and water regularly to ensure an abundant supply of blooms.

After flowers have bloomed, leave them to seed as there is a good chance they will self-seed and sprout up the following year giving you fresh new blooms to enjoy.

Variety: CHRYSANTHEMUM Paludosum

This variety, also known as ‘creeping daisy’ produces white flowers with a bright yellow centre. 

Easy to grow from seed and quick to flower, these ‘mum’s’ have a spreading habit, grow to around 25cm tall and are great for pots, garden beds and window boxes.  

Sow directly outside in spring through to autumn, in a weed free and sunny area. Keep the soil moist until the seed starts to germinate.

Chrysanthemums are wonderful for bees and butterflies and will self seed readily ensuring many years of wonderful blooms. 

Variety: Cosmos bipinnatus

Cosmos are the seed for those who think they can’t grow anything.  They don’t mind poor soil, thrive in hot dry conditions and are happy grown in pots or direct in the garden. These bright, delicate, daisy like flowers are almost fluro in colour and will attract butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.

Sow seed in spring & summer at a depth of around 5mm and keep moist until the seed has germinated. While they don’t need a lot of water once established, water regularly to ensure an abundant supply of blooms.

The beautiful Culinary Flowers Mix contains Nasturtium, Viola and Cornflower seeds. Each of these seeds will grow into gorgeous edible flowers that will also add bright pops of colour to your garden.

Sow seeds in spring and summer in full sun. Bury individual seeds as deep as their height and ensure that soil is kept moist. These flowers are happy in gardens, pots and even indoors. 

Variety: Dahlia pinnata

Dahlias are much-loved blooms that burst into colour in summer and autumn. They are perfect for pots and garden beds and make beautiful cut flowers for the home.

It’s best to sow dahlia seeds in spring after the danger of frost has passed. In tropical or subtropical areas, you can start in late winter. Dahlia’s love the sun and grow best in rich, moist and well-drained soil, so pick a spot that receives sun for most of the day, and before sowing your dahlia seeds, enrich the soil with rich compost. If you have clay-like soil, it’s best to grow dahlias in raised garden beds or pots.

When sowing dahlia seeds, sprinkle them over the top of the soil and then lightly cover with additional soil. Gently water the seeds and continue to water them lightly ensuring the soil is always damp but not soaking wet. The seeds should germinate within 7 to 10 days.

Dianthus, Cosmos, Cornflower and Alyssum.

Varieties: Dianthus barbatus, Cosmos sulphureus, Centaurea cyanus, Alyssum Benthamii

Create an enchanted flower garden that will capture the imagination of the child in us all.

This delightful mix of flower seeds attracts beautiful butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects and will brighten any pot or garden patch. A mix of dianthus, cosmos, cornflower and alyssum, all are easy to grow and are garden favourites for young and old.

Simply scatter seeds, cover with a thin layer of soil and keep moist. These quick growing seeds will pop up in a few days and delight any nature lover.

Variety: Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea

These pretty pink and white flowers are very easy to grow from seed and germinate in just a few days. Sow direct in autumn or winter, cover the seeds with a very light layer of soil and keep moist. Seeds can be started in trays and transplanted when they are around 2cm high, or sown directly where they are to grow.

Rhodanthe chlorocephala prefers full sun and will spring up during warm, sunny weeks, anytime of the year.

Variety: Forget-me-not, Myosotis

Forget-me-nots are a delightful cottage garden plant which produce masses of beautiful sky blue flowers in spring. They are easy to grow, require minimal care and will grow well in both sunny and shady areas. Sow in good quality, moist soil.

Forget-me-nots are a good self-seeder and will spread. To encourage reseeding, leave the spent flowers on the plants after they’ve blossomed. To discourage spreading, pinch off the flower heads after they’ve faded. Forget-me-nots can be grown under trees, in rock gardens and flower beds.

Variety: Tall red, Anigozanthos flavidus

Seeds like cooler weather for germination so start seeds in autumn or winter (depending on your area), cover with a light layer of seed raising mix and keep moist. Germination may take a few weeks to a month, so be patient. Covering the tray with clear plastic will help to preserve the moisture.

Once seedlings have grown their second set of leaves, transfer into larger pots in a potting mix designed for Australian natives, and place in a sunny position. Flowering is most likely to occur after a year.

Rocket: Eruca sativa
Lettuce: Lactuca sativa
Spinach: Spinacea oleracea

Essentials for any kitchen gardener, this pack contains a mix of your common lettuce, rocket and spinach varieties.

Sow the seeds directly into a prepared garden bed or grow in pots and containers.

Sow from early spring right through to autumn and even winter in warmer areas. A sunny position is best though a little shade is sometimes helpful too. Scatter the seeds and cover with a thin layer of soil or potting mix. Keep the soil moist until the seed has germinated then water every few days.

You can continuously pick the young leaves for a crispy addition to every meal or allow the plants to mature and harvest later.

Variety: Nigella Damascena

Love in a Mist is an old fashioned cottage garden annual with fine fennel like leaves and a striking blue flower.

Very easy to grow from seed, sow in autumn and spring in a sunny position. Scatter seeds and cover with a thin layer of soil. Love in a Mist is happy in pots or sown direct in the garden. Keep seeds moist until the seed has germinated.

Variety: Sparky, Tagetes patula and or Tagetes erecta

A card to say a very special “Thank You”. These beautiful flowers are not only very easy to grow, but are a great companion plant, keeping nematodes at bay in your garden.

Sow seeds in spring and summer, in a sunny position. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate. The flowers will bloom from spring through to autumn.

Variety: Shirley, Papaver rhoeas

Poppies are beautiful flowers that are easy to grow from seed and should be sown in autumn and winter. Their delicate orange/ red flowers will blossom in late winter and spring.

The seeds should be scattered in a sunny spot and covered with only a very thin layer of soil as they need light to encourage germination.

Varieties: Zinnia elegans, Sunflower Helianthus annuus, Marigold Tagetes patula. 

Three easy to grow seeds which love warm sunny positions. 

Sow in spring & summer for mild climates, year round for warmer areas. 

To sow, simply scatter seeds  at a depth of 10mm in a well prepared garden bed. Keep the area moist until the seeds germinate. You can thin out the seedlings to avoid over crowding once your seedlings have popped through the soil.

The beautiful Seeds ‘n Greetings Gift of Seeds contains cosmos, dill and zinnia. Each of these varieties are perfect for both the experienced and novice gardener. 

To sow, simply scatter seeds in a sunny position during spring and summer, and cover with a thin layer of soil. Ensure that soil stays moist, and watch them bloom!

Snapdragons, also known as dragon flowers, are a beautiful species of flower which resemble the face of a dragon that opens and closes it’s mouth when laterally squeezed! Snapdragons bloom in clusters from the bottom to the top on a spike like stem. They are very easy to grow and produce bright coloured, long lasting flowers!

The perfect time to sow seeds is in late winter. The seeds should be sprinkled in a sunny position, either in a pot or a garden bed, and covered with only a very thin layer of soil as they need light to encourage germination.

Variety: Helianthus annuus ‘Giant Single’

Sunflowers are very easy to grow and produce brilliant giant yellow flowers up to 180cm. Sow in spring or summer and all year round in warm areas. Sunflower seeds are best sown direct where they are to grow but they can be started in pots and transplanted when the plant produces its second set of leaves.

Ensure a warm, sunny position is chosen with good soil and give the seedling plenty of room to grow big and tall.  If crowded or grown in pots the Sunflowers will produce a smaller flower and stem. 

Variety: Brachyscome iberidifolia

This iconic Australian Native annual from the Swan River in Western Australia has white, violet and blue flowers which bloom from spring to summer. A hardy annual that will grow in poor soils but likes good drainage and plenty of sunshine. Start seed in trays and transplant when they are around 3cm high. Keep soil moist until seed germinates.

Variety: Knee-Hi Mix, Lathyrus odoratus

A card designed to wish a “Happy Birthday” to your own sweet pea. These stunning flowers also hold a lot of nostalgic meaning for many people. These seeds are best sown in autumn in a sunny position with good drainage. Sweet peas are happy in garden beds or grown in a pot. They benefit from some support so setting up a trellis and growing along a fence line or wall works well.  Alternatively you can let them fall down over the sides of a tall pot or hanging basket. In our experience the seeds take a little over a week to germinate. Sweet peas flower in spring.

Each of the herbs in this mixed pack are easy to grow, well known and useful in the kitchen. All three herbs grow well in both pots and garden beds.

Sow seed in a sunny position with good soil from spring to autumn. Basil will bloom from spring through to autumn, while parsley and coriander will bloom year-round if seed is sown regularly.

Basil variety: Sweet Genovese, Ocimum basilicum

Parsley variety: Italian, Petroselinium hortense

Coriander variety: Fiesta Green, Coriandum sativum

Variety: Thymus vulgaris

Thyme is a hardy perennial herb with fragrant small green leaves which are useful in the kitchen. Best started in a pot, the seeds are very fine so it’s important not to bury them too deeply. Simply scatter the seed and cover with a very thin layer of soil then keep moist. Thyme doesn’t mind poor soils but does like a sunny position. It can be slow to germinate from seed so you’ll need to be a little patient. 

Variety: ‘Sugarbaby’ 

Watermelon is a highly popular fruit and is surprisingly easy to grow. Watermelon is best sown in spring and summer, in a sunny position. Sow seeds at a depth of approximately three times the diameter of the seed (12mm). Germination can take between 3 to 10 days, depending on the temperature of the soil. 

Ensure that you have plenty of room to grow them as they often send out long vines. You can grow watermelon in pots, however a large pot is necessary.  Watermelons can be harvested in 12-17 weeks, when the part in contact with the ground is turning yellow and the fruit sounds hollow when tapped. 

Varieties: Eschscholzia californica, Cosmos sulphureus, Alyssum benthamii

In mild climates, seed can be sown in autumn for flowering in spring. Seeds can also be sown in spring and summer for blooming later in the season. 

Scatter seeds in a sunny position free of weeds, cover with a thin layer of soil and keep moist until the seeds have germinated. 

Once the seedlings have established, thin out to 15cm apart and water regularly to ensure abundant supply of blooms.

Variety: Zinnia elegans

Zinnias are bright and cheerful puffs of floral goodness and are super easy to grow.

Start seeds in punnets or directly where they are to grow. Sow in spring & summer, in a sunny position with well drained soil at a depth of around 5mm.

Keep moist especially until the seed has germinated. Remove old flowers encourage new blooms.

sow n sow 16-8-20--5

Tips for seed sowing success

It’s a joy and a wonder watching something grow from a small seed into a blossoming flower or useful herb or vegetable. Whilst it certainly isn’t rocket science, there are a few things that you need to know to ensure seed sowing success.

Seed can either be started indoors in smaller seedling trays or pots then transplanted to garden beds or bigger pots outdoors when they are ready.

Or you can sow seed directly where they are to grow which works especially well for larger seed like Sunflowers. Direct sowing is less controlled so sometimes you’ll get beautiful strong seedlings and other times perhaps the birds have eaten all the seeds before they’ve had a chance to germinate.

We suggest giving both methods a try. Sow ‘n Sow seed packets provide ample seeds for trying both so why not bury a few in a prepared bed as well as starting a few indoors in pots or seedling trays.

When starting seeds indoors, follow these easy steps:

  1. Find some trays or pots and fill them with seed raising mix
    You could use a seed raising tray, an old pot, or egg carton. We use fresh seed raising mix to germinate our seeds as it is clean and weed free and seedlings can easily rise up through the fine texture. 
  2. Place your seeds into the soil
    Make sure that you only place the seeds approximately twice as deep as the seed is wide. For example, poppy seed is tiny and will only need to be sprinkled onto the surface. Compare this to sunflower which is quite a large seed, which will need to be pushed down to about 1 cm deep. Our Gifts of Seeds indicate the sow depth on the inside of the package.
  3. Spray the seeds with water from a spray bottle
    Give the soil a good misting to ensure it is moist. Spray bottles are nice and gentle and will ensure the seed isn’t dislodged while watering.
  4. Keep moist & provide sunlight
    Whilst waiting for your seeds to germinate, make sure that the soil stays moist. If the top layer of soil is dry, give it a good spray. Ensure the tray is in a position to receive lots of sunlight. 
  5. Feed the seedlings
    When the seedlings have sprouted and have their first set of ‘true leaves’ (which is generally the second set of leaves) they will need to be fed. Otherwise they tend to just stay at this small size and they generally won’t grow anymore. We like to use diluted worm juice from our worm farm. If you don’t have access to a worm farm you can also use a liquid fertiliser such as Seasol.
  6. Harden the seedlings
    The more direct sunlight the seedlings can get while growing the better, but you need to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed if they haven’t seen much sun before.  Hardening the seedlings means getting them accustomed to the sun. Gradually increase their exposure slightly each day until they can withstand full sun. Or even better, give them full sun from the beginning and then you won’t need harden them later.  Make sure you continue to water the seedlings, but don’t overdo it either. Too much water will produce weak roots and a fragile seedling. 
  7. Transplanting
    The final step is transplanting your seedlings to either a well prepared garden bed or a bigger pot. Don’t forget to gently water the seedling once it has been placed into the ground or pot to allow its roots to soak into the soil.

When direct sowing seeds, follow these steps:

This method is actually a lot easier and in my experience the seedlings grow into strong plants as they are accustomed to the soil and sunlight right from the beginning.

  1. Prepare the garden bed
    Prepare an area of your garden by pulling back any mulch and pulling out any weeds or old plants. A sunny spot is generally best as most flowers, herbs and vegetables prefer lots of sun. Till the soil a little so you have a nice base to bury the seeds into. We recommend mixing through some fresh compost to give the seedlings a good start. 
  2. Sow the seeds
    Place the seeds into the soil twice as deep as the seed is wide. I’d plant one seed at 10cm intervals, but you can also just scatter some seed and cover it with soil. Lettuce seed for example does well with just a sprinkle and a cover. Sunflower or Watermelon seed would do better if buried. You can put some mulch down and leave a little ‘nest’ space where the seed has been planted. This will help to keep the soil moist and will also clearly mark out where you’ve planted the seed.
  3. Water in the seeds
    Water the bed and try to keep it fairly moist over the next week. In my experience, watering it once or twice a day will do the trick until the seeds have germinated.
  4. Thin the seedlings out
    It’s very easy to end up with seemingly hundreds of little seedlings especially if you have done a ‘scatter and cover’ approach. Pulling out the precious little seedling babies feels mean but you’ll end up with stronger plants if you thin them out and give each seedling space to get the nutrients it needs.
  5. Watch them grow
    Once they’ve got a few sets of leaves I tend to back off on watering them as the plant will be weak and will be reliant on getting lots of water if you keep watering too much. Hopefully the rain will do this job for you too. 

These tips are just an overview of what we’ve learnt over years of trial and error.  The best way for you to learn is to just give it a go!

Having trouble getting your seeds to germinate?

We’d love to help! We have selected seeds which are easy to grow however there are lots of variables to consider and we know it’s not always easy. We do our own germination testing in-house but if your seeds just aren’t germinating, get in touch and we will happily send you a new batch to try.

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