15 Beautiful Perennials You Can Grow Easily from Seed

Are you planning a new perennial patch and hoping to start flowers from seed? Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she shares 15 beautiful perennials you can easily grow from seed. Some might even bloom the first year!

An array of perennial flowers in shades of purple, white, pink, and orange bloom in a lush garden. Their varied hues create a vibrant tapestry against the backdrop of verdant, green foliage, forming a captivating display of nature's beauty.

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Years ago, after reading my first Floret book, I was so intimidated by starting flowers from seed. It seemed so tedious, difficult, and unpredictable. Now, I know that with practice, the process can be rewarding, fun, and even meditative. Growing from seed can be challenging, but with a little perseverance and experience, it gets easier each time. 

Growing perennials from seed requires a bit more patience than you may be used to growing annuals. Germination may be slower, and many seeds require cold stratification, but it’s all worth it in the end. Perennial flowers provide beauty in your garden year after year. 

If you’re new to starting flowers from seed, or you are creating your first perennial flower patch, keep reading! We’ll go through 15 perennials that are easy and fun to start from seed

If you want to stock up on some of the seeds featured here, head over to the Epic shop to take advantage of 50% off selected merchandise, free shipping for text subscribers, and other big savings during our Memorial Day sale.

Penstemon

Rocky Mountain Blue Penstemon Seeds

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‘Rocky Mountain Blue’ Penstemon Seeds

Yarrow

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Colorado Blend Yarrow Seeds

Feverfew

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Calendula

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Calendula Seeds

Scabiosa

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Purple Coneflower

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Purple Coneflower Echinacea Seeds

Anise Hyssop

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Anise Hyssop Seeds

Lavender

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Munstead Lavender Seeds

Bee Balm

Wild Bergamot Seeds

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Wild Bergamot Seeds

Penstemon

Blue broadleaf penstemon blooms gracefully cascade downward, their delicate petals forming a gentle curve. The blurred backdrop reveals a verdant tapestry of lush green foliage, enhancing the striking contrast and beauty of the flowers.
Tubular penstemon flowers are a hummingbird favorite.
botanical-name botanical name Penstemon spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 24-36 inches 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11 

Penstemon, also called Beard Tongue, is a drought-tolerant, US-native wildflower perfect for xeriscaping. The colorful tube-shaped flowers are beloved by hummingbirds.

This is an excellent flower for planting in large drifts, where its bright colors and large bloom spikes catch the eye. Penstemon comes in many different colors, but our favorite is blue. This rare garden hue is particularly beautiful when paired with other calming colors or when contrasted with oranges and yellows.

Penstemon seeds are easy to collect yourself from mature plants. They germinate best in cool soil and respond well to winter sowing. Incorporate penstemon into your pollinator garden, too, where it will be visited by a variety of bees.

Yarrow 

Bunches of delicate yarrow flowers grace the scene, set against a soft backdrop of lush green grass. The petite blooms showcase pristine white petals that cradle lavender-hued centers, creating a harmonious blend of colors.
This perennial yields long-lasting fern-like foliage and durable, daisy-like florets.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea millefolium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Yarrow comes in a wide range of colors. It is known for its ease of growing – even in poor soil conditions – and drought resistance once established. Along with these benefits, I can always count on my established patch of yarrow to be some of the first greenery sprouting up in the spring for early bouquets. They have a long vase life of up to two weeks and serve as a great bouquet filler with lots of fern-like foliage and tiny gerbera daisy-like florets. 

Yarrow will self-seed and spread easily underground by rhizomes. Keep it under control by splitting clumps as needed every few years and replanting them in a new location. 

Sow the tiny seeds into a strip tray, just barely sprinkling vermiculite over the top. Place the tray on a heat mat to speed up germination and water from below. Consistently harvest and deadhead to continue the blooms into the fall. 

Bee Balm 

A close-up of red bee balm flowers with delicate, curved petals cluster atop fuzzy, slender stems. Behind, an array of bee balm blooms and leaves create a soft, blurred backdrop, accentuating the main cluster.
Vibrant bee balm thrives in various soils and attracts pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Monarda didyma L.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Bee balm is available in bold shades of pink, purple, and red in pure species form. There are also lots of fun hybrids. It has a long bloom time, multiplies easily, and tolerates most soil types as long as it’s well-draining. Pollinators love it!

Starting these from seed takes patience and requires cold stratification. If you’ve winter sown before, this is the perfect flower to try this method, as it can take a long time to germinate. Otherwise, start them indoors eight weeks before the last frost after a short period of cold stratification. 

Some light is required, so don’t fully cover the seeds. Place them into moist soil and a sunny spot. Bottom water to keep from displacing seeds. They may take two to four weeks to germinate. 

Feverfew 

A cluster of feverfew flowers stands out against a backdrop of lush, blurred green leaves. Each delicate bloom boasts a series of petite, pure-white petals encircling a sunlit yellow center.
A dense daisy-like plant, feverfew attracts tiny beneficial insects with its medicinal scent.
botanical-name botanical name Tanacetum parthenium L.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 28-36 inches 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Part of the aster family, this delightful little daisy grows densely on its stems. Nicknamed wild chamomile because of its resemblance to the popular flower, feverfew has a scent that’s a bit more medicinal and attracts the tiniest beneficial insects. 

The longest stems and most abundant blooms open during the longest days of the season. For the best vase life, harvest them when they’re still partially closed. These are perfect for dried flower crafting in everlasting bouquets, wreaths, or crowns.

Feverfew seeds should be sown indoors 5-7 weeks before the last spring frost. Light is required for germination, so press them into the growing medium and bottom water to avoid displacement. If you have a protected area to grow them in, sow them in the fall and transplant them in pots relegated to a greenhouse to overwinter. Using this method, you may see stems up to four feet tall!

Calendula 

A close-up of an orange calendula flower displays intricate, layered petals arranged around a deep maroon center, creating a vibrant contrast. The blurred backdrop hints at lush foliage, providing a soft, natural setting for the vivid bloom.
This perennial can yield continuous vibrant blooms through regular deadheading.
botanical-name botanical name Calendula officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 8-12 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11, hardy in 9-11

Calendula seeds are larger than many flower seeds, resembling tiny seahorses, and they’re easy to work with. While in some areas, it’s considered an annual, it’s a short-lived perennial in zones 9-11. Even in cold zones, calendula readily self-seeds. Here in zone 5b, it proves its worthiness year after year. Remove older plants as they peter out and new ones are established. The bi-colored ‘Oopsy Daisy’ is a great option with the classic gerbera-daisy shape and size. 

When starting indoors, no heat is needed as calendula loves cooler temperatures. Sow seeds in containers or cell trays, just one per cell, 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. When they have two or more sets of true leaves, pinch them back to promote bushy plants. Transplant them before their taproot is substantial and before the heat of summer arrives. Deadhead all season long to get continuous fluorescent blooms and taller stems. 

Calendula can be planted in mass for a bold statement, in cottage gardens, or alongside veggies to help with pollination. Petals are edible and can be used to brighten up a salad, dye fabrics, or used to make anti-inflammatory salves. 

Foxglove

A close-up rain-kissed purple foxglove blossoms, their petals glistening with droplets, suspended from a slender stem. The soft focus of the verdant green background accentuates the delicate beauty of these blooms.
An attractive pollinator-friendly flower, foxglove is easy to grow from seed indoors or outdoors.
botanical-name botanical name Digitalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Foxglove is one of the prettiest pollinator-attracting flowers and is a breeze to care for once established. Ranging from white and cream to bright pink and purple, they feature a Dalmatian spotted runway down the center of their downward-facing blooms to entice hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. And let me tell you, it’s effective! 

While many species are biennial, some come back reliably year after year. These productive perennials are easy to start from seed indoors, directly sown, or following the outdoor winter sowing method. They germinate just fine in cool temperatures. They do need light, however, so don’t cover them with soil, but rather tamp them down into your growing medium and leave them be. Water from below. 

If starting the seeds indoors, keep them protected, but not on heat about 8-10 weeks before the last possible frost in the spring. Sprouting should occur in two to three weeks, and they’ll be ready to step and transplant by late spring or early summer.

Keep them harvested or deadheaded for continuous blooms. Trimming them back may result in a second flush in late summer or early fall. Cut them all the way down before winter and mulch if winters are harsh. If they’re overcrowded in the spring, simply thin out new plants that popped up from scattered seeds. 

Scabiosa 

A close-up of a scabiosa flower, basking in the sunlight against a soft, blurred backdrop. The intricate purple petals display delicate ruffling, creating a mesmerizing texture. Its center holds a cluster of tiny, exquisite florets.
This flower, with its vibrant blooms and seed pods, enhances gardens and bouquets.
botanical-name botanical name Lomelosia caucasica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

This whimsical “pincushion” flower adds a unique flair to cottage gardens, containers, or a colorful cutting garden. It flowers in the first year and last until the first frost. In addition to the fun, ruffly flowers, it forms seed pods that can be added to fall bouquets or saved for next year’s sowing. 

Harvest the flowers when they’re about halfway open for the best vase life. Plants should survive for three years or more, so planting new seeds each spring will maintain their presence. 

Sow scabiosa seeds at the same time you sow calendula, about 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost. Some light is required for germination, so sprinkle vermiculite over the top of them just to secure them in place and hold in moisture. They should germinate in about 10-12 days at 65-70°F (18-21°C). Water from below to keep them from becoming displaced. 

Oriental Poppies 

Vibrant orange oriental poppies, their petals unfurled, soak up the golden sunlight, showcasing deep purple centers, a vivid contrast against the bright hue. Behind them, delicate leaves add a touch of grace to the vibrant scene.
Caution is needed when transplanting oriental poppies due to their taproot.
botanical-name botanical name Papaver orientale
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Native to Asia, oriental poppies make quite a statement when planted in mass in large, sloped fields or along paths. This is due to their striking colors and whimsical nature. They easily reseed, but if you want to start a new patch, any gardener can start them from seed. 

Poppies don’t always transplant well due to their large taproot. If you choose to start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse, do so in peat pots to decrease the risk of transplant shock.

Poppies are a great option for winter sowing or sowing seeds in prepared garden beds in the fall. They’ll be naturally protected by garden debris, old leaves, and possibly snow. They break dormancy when spring arrives. Some growers have success with the winter sowing in milk jugs method. Just transplant seedlings before their taproot grows too large for best success. 

Blue Grama Grass

Blue grama grass, slender and delicate, rustles gently in the breeze, its blades catching the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing dance. Each blade bends gracefully, weaving a tranquil tapestry amidst the wind's caress.
This can be sown by broadcasting seeds with straw cover or mixed with sand.
botanical-name botanical name Bouteloua gracilis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 12-14 inches 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Blue grama is one of the shortest ornamental grasses with a unique flowering phase. Its wispy blue-green leaves grow in bunches, typically in the heat and high elevations. These plants prefer dry climates. The brown seed pods form horizontally at the tops of the blades of grass, offering a funky, almost cartoon-like eyelash shape. They even look attractive after they go to seed, turning a bright tan color. 

Some people use Blue Grama as an alternative to traditional grass in warmer climate areas. For a lawn alternative, broadcast the seeds and cover them with straw for protection. Some seed companies include this grass in wildflower mixes because it’s slow to spread and may not germinate at the same rate. However, if you want to plant clumps to accent colorful flowers in your garden, starting indoors from seed is best. 

Sow seeds, sprinkle vermiculite over the top, and wait the 7-10 days it will take for them to germinate, keeping the soil moist from below. Once established, Blue Grama is drought-resistant and has very low maintenance overall. Keep weeds down and spot water as needed while establishing. 

Rudbeckia Triloba

Rudbeckia triloba blooms, known as Brown-eyed Susans, stand amidst lush green foliage. Each petal showcases a radiant yellow hue, framing the striking, deep black centers, evoking a sunburst captured in a natural setting.
Cheerful Rudbeckia triloba grows wild or cultivated, perfect for bouquets or wild gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia triloba
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height Up to 5 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

It doesn’t get more cheerful than this dense, larger-than-life, miniature black-eyed-Susan perennial. Named for its three-leaved branches, it can be found growing wild but also can be cultivated and used as a bouquet filler or to accent a wild backyard garden along a border.

Seeds should be chilled before sowing for 30 days. They’ll germinate in about ten days on a heat mat, or you can direct sow them in the spring when the soil can be worked. Alternatively, winter sow these for a natural chill. Give them about two feet to spread out and weed the area regularly to keep the competition down while they establish. 

After being harvested, newly opened flowers may look wilted but perk back up quickly when rehydrated. 

Creeping Phlox 

A beautiful display of creeping phlox unfolds, revealing numerous purple flowers in full bloom. Each delicate petal catches the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of color that bathes the landscape in a captivating, natural beauty.
When scattered as seeds, this plant effortlessly blankets areas.
botanical-name botanical name Phlox stolonifera
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3 inches 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

This flowering ground cover comes in shades of white, pink, and purple, all more gorgeous than the next. Its lush, bright green foliage makes an attractive cover before and after bloom time. It will keep your ground safely covered through the winter months with no special attention needed. 

Though it’s not typically recommended to scatter seeds out in the garden, you can do it with creeping phlox. After about two years, at full maturity, it will have crept its way through rocks and cracks and filled in nooks and crannies, blanketing over the area.

Creeping phlox will come back stronger every year and naturally suppresses weeds. It’s perfectly safe for kids and animals, but watch out because bunnies love it

Purple Coneflower 

Purple coneflowers, each boasting a striking orange center, elegantly perched on delicate, swaying stems. Their petals catch the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing dance as they gently move in the wind, a colorful symphony of nature's grace.
To grow purple coneflowers successfully, sow seeds indoors prior to the final spring frost.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-5 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

This cartoon-like flower attracts lots of pollinating bees and adds a special shade of lilac to the garden. It complements tall ornamental grasses, bee balm, and other bright, cutting flowers well. 

Sow seeds 8-10 weeks before your last spring frost and step them up into larger containers about five weeks later when they have true leaves. They’ll be ready to harden off in a few more weeks and should be transplanted in the early or late summer. Winter sowing or direct sowing, when spring temperatures are fluctuating, may stimulate germination. 

Divide them in the future if they become crowded. Give them about two feet to spread out. Unlike some other echinacea species, these have easy-to-move roots rather than a large taproot. 

Common Mallow 

A close-up reveals the intricate features of the common mallow, showcasing delicate lobed leaves. The purple flower takes center stage, its petals gracefully unfurling under the warm embrace of sunlight, creating a stunning visual symphony.
Start common mallow indoors in late winter or transplant it for potential first-year flowering.
botanical-name botanical name Malva sylvestris 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Mallow is sure to start conversations with its bright pinkish-purple, heart-shaped petals, and dark, contrasting stripes. Add it to an existing cottage garden with something fun and unique, such as globe thistle, or alongside other types of mallow that range from white and light pink to striking magenta and violet. 

This perennial isn’t picky about soil fertility, but it must be well-draining. It needs cold stratification, so some growers direct sow in the fall and let the seeds germinate right in their garden beds. If you do this, simply thin mallow as needed. Give them three to four feet in between so they can expand and receive ample sun and airflow

Once you have an established patch of mallow, it should reseed itself and provide you with years of continuous blooms. If sowing seeds indoors to get a jumpstart on the year, start them in late winter or very early spring. If transplanted early enough, you may see blooms in the first year. 

Anise Hyssop 

Clusters of deep purple anise hyssop flowers rise gracefully, forming spiky tufts above a sea of lush green leaves. Each blossom flaunts delicate petals that spiral outward, crowned by a tuft of tiny, inviting pistils at their heart.
Harvest anise hyssop before full pollination for optimal vase life.
botanical-name botanical name Agastache foeniculum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

I added anise hyssop seedlings a few years back to my perennial cut flower patch, and they have been going steady with little maintenance. Germination occurs with access to light and grows well in cell trays until transplant. Only a little space is needed for a productive and high-yielding patch. Prune them back to the ground in late fall and optionally cover them with straw where winters are harsh. 

Weed suppression and watering during dry spells are a must with anise hyssop. Pay more attention to them during their first year of becoming established. In subsequent years, rain may provide enough water. A layer of compost every few years will keep the soil well-draining.

Pollinators adore anise hyssop. It has many uses and looks incredible in bouquets. Harvest for bouquets or edible flower use before the purple flower has been fully pollinated and becomes fluffy for the best vase life and flavor. Use the leaves for a lovely tea or simple syrup. The lavender-colored flower and dark green and purple leaves will entice anyone around with their sweet and minty licorice aroma. 

English Lavender

English lavender flowers, their delicate purple hues illuminated by sunlight, create a serene scene. Gracefully swaying on slender lavender stems, they nestle among green leaves, painting a tranquil portrait of nature's beauty.
Starting lavender from seed requires patience due to a month-long germination process.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula angustifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

Some gardeners may try to scare you away from attempting to start lavender plants from seed, but hear me out. It may take a little more patience and time, but starting lavender from seed is not only possible, it’s less expensive and more rewarding! 

Lavender isn’t as delicate as I used to think, contrary to how it may look. While seeds take up to a month to germinate and the plant takes even longer to bloom, it’s worth the wait. These seeds require a period of cold stratification, so if you have experience with winter sowing, lavender responds quite well to this method.

Alternatively, keep the seeds outside in a greenhouse or a cold basement for several weeks before sowing them and putting them on heat to germinate. Some growers swear the secret to high germination rates is to freeze them before thawing and sowing to simulate a realistic winter. 

Our lavender plants are quite tolerant of recent fluctuating floods and drought years. They produce heavily all summer long and survive our Zone 5b winters. I cover my plants each fall with organic straw to protect the root system, and each summer, they come back strong and healthy. 

Final Thoughts 

If you were previously intimidated by starting perennials from seed, I hope you see just how fun, rewarding, and easy it can be. Like most things in gardening, trial and error is key, so don’t become discouraged if you don’t succeed on the first try. Happy seeding!

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Three white plastic trays sit on a windowsill, filled with dark, moist soil. Sprouts of various heights and thickness carpet the soil, their leaves a vibrant shade of green. A few delicate stems stretch towards the window, bathed in the soft glow of the morning sun.

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