15 Flowers That Are Easy to Grow From Seed

Have you thought about growing your flower garden from seed this year? Starting from seed is a fun and economical way to grow your spring flower garden. In this article, gardening expert Danielle Sherwood tells us about the easiest flowers to grow from seed, with tips for getting started!

Bright yellow sunflower blooming in garden sun

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If you usually buy your flowers from the nursery, this year is a good time to switch things up and grow from seed! You’ll save money, get to see your seedlings from start to finish, and have lots of plants to fill your garden.

Growing from seed doesn’t have to be difficult. With some basic knowledge and a few tools to get started, anyone can have success growing their own beautiful flowers to line their flower beds in the spring. A bonus: sowing seeds and recording their growth is a great activity to do with kids, and there are a number of different ways you can do it!

In this article, you’ll learn about what you’ll need for a basic seed-starting setup, as well as some of the most beginner-friendly flowers to grow from seed. So, let’s go! Your new flower garden starts right now!

Chater’s Double Hollyhock

chater's double hollyhock

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Hollyhock Seeds

‘Fiesta Blend’ Nasturtium

Fiesta Blend edible nasturtiums dazzle in peach and warm coral to rusty oranges.

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Nasturtium Seeds

‘Swiss Giant’ Strawflower

Swiss Giants Blend Strawflower Seeds

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Strawflower Seeds

Flowers to Direct Seed

Sow the seeds of the following flowers right into your garden beds outdoors. Many of these germinate better after a period of cold winter temperatures, called cold stratification. Keep in mind that all of these flowers can be grown indoors as well, but their germination rates may be impacted.

Sweet Williams

Close-up of blooming inflorescences of Dianthus Barbatus in a sunny garden. Large, globular inflorescences of small bright pink flowers with white and serrated margins on the petals.
This popular low-growing flower produces small, colorful blooms with a slight carnation scent.
botanical-name botanical name Dianthus Barbatus
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
where-to-plant where to plant Direct Sow outside November through February

Sweet Williams are a profusely flowering cottage garden favorite. These colorful little flowers reseed themselves. Plant them once, and you’re likely to have them in the garden for years to come! They will grow into a lovely patch of fringed flowers in hot pink to dainty blush over time.

Sweet Williams flowers will bloom all summer long and last for weeks when cut for the vase. If you prefer to grow them inside, plant seeds near a sunny window or under lights 6-8 weeks before your last frost. These mildly clove-scented little flowers are an easy way to bring lots of color to the garden!

Sunflowers

Close-up of three flowering Helianthus annuus against a blurred background of a blooming garden. Plants have large flowers with large, rounded copper centers where edible seeds are formed, and elongated, thin, bright yellow petals arranged in several layers around. The leaves are dark green, heart-shaped, hairy.
This popular annual has heart-shaped, hairy leaves and large clusters of yellow ray florets.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus annuus
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
where-to-plant where to plant Direct Sow outside after last frost

Sunflowers are pollinator favorites and produce delicious seeds! These popular and low-maintenance annual flowers are a garden favorite for many reasons.

There are many different types of sunflowers that bloom in a number of interesting shades. They grow in several different sizes and have many bloom forms. The classic ‘Helianthus annuus’ grows from 2 to 10 feet tall, depending on conditions.

Growing sunflowers is simple. Kids love planting their large seeds and watching them climb toward the sky.  These beauties are native to the US and tolerant of drought, deer pressure, and poor soils.

They can be sown indoors and transplanted if you’d like an earlier bloom. However, direct sowing yields better results because they have a long taproot that doesn’t respond well to transplanting.

Hollyhock

Close-up of a Hollyhock Alcea Rosa flowering plant in a sunny garden. The plant has a tall stem with large, showy, tubular bright pink flowers with darker centers and prominent pollen-covered stalks.
Hollyhock produces tall stems with large, showy flowers in a variety of colors.
botanical-name botanical name Alcea Rosa
plant-type plant type Biennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow in early spring 2 weeks before last frost

Hollyhocks add dramatic vertical garden color. Each tall stalk can grow up to 10 feet, and their large, showy flowers open over an extended period. Plant hollyhock seeds near the house or along a fence to provide support.

Hollyhocks grow easily and need no attention once they mature. They are biennial, meaning they concentrate on growing their roots, stems, and leaves in the first year and flower in the second.

Once they flower, you can harvest the seeds or leave them to scatter on their own. They’ll reseed, giving you a gorgeous patch of constant flowers in the coming years.

Lance-leaved Coreopsis

Close-up of a blooming bright yellow flower of Coreopsis lanceolata against a blurred dark green background. The plant has a thin stem with a disc-shaped, flat, single flower, with corrugated bright yellow petals and golden stamens in the center.
Lance-leaved coreopsis can be sown in November as its seeds require cold stratification.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis lanceolata
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

This cheerful wildflower is native to parts of Canada and the US.  It needs cold stratification, so you can direct sow as early as November. Loads of flowers with fluted bright yellow petals (sometimes with a maroon base) grow atop an upright, attractive plant.

Coreopsis attracts beneficial insects to the garden that will eat unwanted pests. It’s easy-going and self-seeds, making it a cinch to fill a garden bed or pot with sunny garden color. Plant in full sun.

Blue Wood Aster

Close-up of a Blue Wood Aster flowering plant against a blurred background. The plant is a bushy shrub with small, star-shaped, soft purple flowers and yellow and red-pink centers.
This aster variety grows well in partial shade, producing a dense bush covered with lavender, star-shaped flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Symphyotrichum cordifolium
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

Blue wood aster grows into a three foot tall, bushy shrub covered with small, lavender star-shaped flowers. It blooms in late summer or early fall, providing color as many other blooms begin to fade.

This U.S. Native grows well in part shade and even puts up with dry conditions once established, making it a perfect choice for those difficult garden spots.

It’s a butterfly host plant and supports many specialist bees that can only feed on its nectar. It will spread, so plant it somewhere you’d like a swath of lavender color.

Penstemon Digitalis

Close-up of a flowering plant Penstemon Digitalis in a sunny garden, in a flower bed. The plant has tall inflorescences of bell-shaped white flowers with a pinkish tinge.
Foxglove Beard-tongue is a beautiful perennial with tubular white flowers tinged with soft pink.
botanical-name botanical name Penstemon Digitalis
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

Penstemon digitalis, or Foxglove Beard-tongue, is the beautiful wild cousin of garden foxglove. It has similar flower spikes, with pretty tubular flowers beloved by hummingbirds. Sow Penstemon digitalis in fall through late winter, and you’ll have blooms by early summer!

The snowy-white blooms are tinged with pink. They are long-lasting and look beautiful when planted en masse. Penstemon is rugged. It will put up with drought, clay soil, and harsh sun. In southern climates, it can be evergreen.

Bradbury’s Bee Balm

Close-up of a blooming Monarda Bradburiana flower against a blurred green background. The flower is large, forms beautiful blush-colored inflorescences, consisting of tubular elongated flowers with bright purple dots on wavy petals.
Bradbury’s Bee Balm thrives well in full sun and has fluffy, ragged blush flowers with purple spots.
botanical-name botanical name Monarda Bradburiana
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

This flower is a member of the mint family, which spreads readily to form pretty flowering clumps of ivory to blush flowers. It’s native to the Eastern U.S., but will grow readily anywhere with lots of sun and medium to dry soil.

The fluffy, ragged blooms are unusual and sometimes spotted with purple. They contrast well with the plant’s dark green foliage. Some gardeners like to harvest it to make mint tea. Plant ‘Bradbury’s Bee Balm’ in an informal area where it will have a bit of space to spread out. If you like a more saturated lavender hue, try wild bergamot.

Black-Eyed Susans

Close-up of a flowering bed of Rudbeckia hirta. The plant has thin long stems with large, daisy-like flowers, with golden yellow narrow, oblong petals and dark brown centers.
This popular perennial produces golden yellow flowers with dark brown centers.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia hirta
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow 2 weeks before last frost

Black-Eyed Susans are a long-time favorite, with golden-yellow daisy-like flowers and deep brown centers. Some have an attractive burgundy floret in the center. Plants grow to about three feet tall and have lance-shaped, fuzzy leaves.

Rudbeckia hirta is another butterfly host plant. Like many natives, it will spread a bit if it likes the conditions. Direct seed in full sun fall through late winter, and look forward to lots of joyful golden blooms!

Shrubby St. John’s Wort

Close-up of a flowering bush Hypericum prolificum in a garden, against a blurry background. The bush is lush, has elongated, lanceolate, thin, dark green leaves with smooth edges. The flowers are small, bright yellow, open, with protruding fluffy golden stamens.
This shrub produces bright yellow flowers with fluffy golden stamens.
botanical-name botanical name Hypericum prolificum
plant-type plant type Biennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

Did you know you could grow robust shrubs from seed? Shrubby St. John’s Wort is easy to grow and forms a four foot shrub smothered in bright yellow flowers. Individual flowers are small, but they appear in such proliferation that the bush has a nice visual impact in the garden.

The real stars are the prominent fluffy golden stamens, which add interest to the blooms. St. John’s Wort likes full sun. Rabbits and deer avoid it, while it’s an important nectar source for many native beneficial insects.

Commonly used as an herbal remedy, Shrubby St. John’s Wort makes a beautiful and easy low hedge when several are planted in a row.

Hungarian Breadseed Poppies

Close-up of a blooming Papaver Somniferum flower in a garden, against a backdrop of bright green grass. The flower is large, has delicate paper petals of pale lilac color with contrasting dark purple spots and a green center.
Papaver Somniferum has delicate papery flowers in white, lavender, and deep purple with dark centers.
botanical-name botanical name Papaver Somniferum
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10
where-to-plant where to plant Direct sow November through February

The delicate, papery blooms of the Hungarian breadseed poppy are breathtaking in the garden, especially when planted in large numbers. These hardy seeds can be sprinkled right onto the soil outdoors from November through February. They can even be thrown out on top of the snow!

As they start to sprout, the large blue-green leaves almost look like the start of a head of lettuce. Soon, long stems will produce big buds that open into white, lavender, or deep purple, with signature dark centers.

Best of all, breadseed poppies have gorgeous ornamental seed pods that are striking in garden beds. They can be harvested to replant next year.

Nasturtium

Close-up of a flowering plant Tropaeolum majus in the garden. Nasturtium has beautiful funnel-shaped bright orange flowers with deep red veins towards the center, and large, bright green, white-veined water lily-like leaves.
Nasturtium is a popular ground cover with huge leaves and bright orange funnel-shaped flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum majus
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11
where-to-plant where to plant Sow directly outdoors 1-2 weeks after last frost

In my book, nasturtium, with its huge lily pad leaves and colorful blooms, is a garden essential. Not only is nasturtium easy to grow- it also provides benefits as a companion plant. Nasturtium attracts beneficial insects and makes the calcium in your soil more accessible to other plants.

The whole plant is edible and has a delicious peppery taste popular in salads. To plant nasturtium, sow the seeds directly into the garden (about ½ inch deep) about two weeks after your last frost.

They thrive on neglect, so once established, water only when the soil is dry. Soon, you’ll have a rainbow of blooms!

‘Purple Sensation’ Allium

Close-up of blooming Allium hollandicum in a sunny garden. Plants form large balls of small dark purple flowers with thin, oblong petals. The stems are thin, strong, tall, pale green.
This allium blooms with showy purple balls of small flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Allium hollandicum
plant-type plant type Flowering perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
where-to-plant where to plant Sow directly outdoors from November through December

‘Purple Sensation’ Allium is simple to grow from seed planted directly outside in the fall. Come spring, they shoot up and produce showy globes of 50-plus deep purple flowers. They come back every year and produce lots of seedheads to increase your plants for free! 

Alliums are beautiful and useful in the garden. They emit a mild oniony smell (they are in the onion family) that isn’t noticeable to humans but repels aphids and Japanese Beetle grubs.

These quirky plants are often grown from bulbs but are just as easily started from seed. A simple way to add eye-catching blooms to your garden beds!

Flowers to Start Indoors

Plant these seeds in seed trays or small pots with drainage. Keep them under grow lights or place them in a sunny window. To speed germination, provide humidity by covering pots with a germination dome or plastic wrap and uncover when sprouts appear.

Strawflower

Close-up of blooming Xerochrysum bracteatum flowers in a sunny garden. The flowers are large, forming golden yellow, hot pink and red fluffy, flower heads with stiff papery petals and bright yellow centers.
Strawflower is an annual that produces colorful, fluffy flowers in warm shades of red, orange, and hot pink.
botanical-name botanical name Xerochrysum bracteatum
plant-type plant type Tender perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10
where-to-plant where to plant Plant indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost

If you love colorful, long-lived blooms, strawflowers are a must. They look a bit like fluffy daisies, with stiff paper-like petals that last forever.

Strawflowers come in a rainbow of colors, with warm shades of red, orange, hot pink, and yellow being the most popular. They provide lots of interest and easy color in the garden.

Strawflowers are simple to grow from seed. Plant them indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost date and transplant them directly into the garden after temperatures have reached 70 ℉. They’ll bloom all summer through early fall and make great cut flowers!

China Asters

Close-up of colorful flowers of Callistephus chinensis blooming in a sunny garden. The flowers are large, solitary and double, with oblong oval petals of bright pink and purple, arranged around yellow centers. The plants are covered with ovate, toothed, green leaves.
These bright flowers are popular container garden plants.
botanical-name botanical name Callistephus chinensis
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11
where-to-plant where to plant Plant indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost

China asters look fantastic in containers with other flowers. They fill a large pot beautifully and have robust three to five-inch blooms. China asters don’t need a lot of water and will last about ten days in the vase.

They came in many bloom styles and colors, but I prefer the large pink peony-like blooms of ‘Rose Quartz Mix’. Whatever color palette you prefer, there’s a China aster for you!

These grow easily from seed when planted indoors in small pots. Keep them evenly moist and transplant the seedlings after all danger of frost has passed.

‘Cupcake Blush’ Cosmos

Close-up of a blooming Cosmos 'Cupcakes Blush' flower against a blurred garden background. The flower is large, solitary, semi-double, has pale pink fused petals with edges as if cut with scissors and yellow stamens in the center.
Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’ has large pale pink flowers with fused petals.
botanical-name botanical name Cosmos bipinnatus
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11
where-to-plant where to plant Plant indoors 5-7 weeks before last frost

Cosmos are a cinch to grow and provide lots of aesthetic value for little effort. They have lacy, fern-like foliage and large blooms that float above two foot tall plants. Plant them inside five to seven weeks before your last frost, and plant them in the garden in early spring.

‘Cupcakes Blush’ is a unique variety with large, pale pink blooms and an interior ring of tufted petals that look like cupcake wrappers.

For a bushier, more productive plant, grow them about 8 inches tall, then pinch back the growing tips right underneath a set of leaves. Soon, you will have more branching and more blooms!

Cosmos often reseed themselves in the garden, so look out for their little sprouts next spring.

Final Thoughts

Growing flowers from seed is the easiest and cheapest way to get a beautiful garden. There’s nothing like observing the growing process from seed to bloom, along with the pride of growing your garden all on your own!

If you haven’t tried starting with seeds before, these easy flowers are a great way to begin. Whether you decide to start your seeds indoors near a sunny window, have an elaborate setup with grow lights, or prefer to plant directly outdoors, there are varieties that will grow well for you. Enjoy your flowers!

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A vibrant array of yellow and purple flowers creates a lush tapestry of colors, forming a captivating sight. Their tall, elegant stems adorned with delicate leaves sway gently in the breeze, exuding natural grace and beauty.

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