Forum home The potting shed

When to start my flower seeds

Hi again,

 So, i've been researching this til my fingers bled, with alot of conflicting advice.

 As we know, we go to the garden centre and everything is flowering early, ready to go in the garden. That's what I'd like to achieve.

 As I'm now setup with a greenhouse (and intending to buy grow lights, question posted about this also!), I want to get a head start on planting some seeds for some early and longer lasting flowering, ready to plant into the garden.

 My question is, when do you actually start the seeds? Can I start them in November and keep them in little pots until spring arrives and frost has passed, or do I need to time it a little better and go later?

 I'm so eager to get planting! I just don't want to do it too early, nor do I want it too late and have to wait until August for a colourful garden like I did this year after starting my flower seeds in March (due to Greenhouse not being built).

 Also, should the answer be that I can get cracking in November with sowing, how important are grow lights to ensure this process goes smoothly? Are they a necessity? 

 Examples of some seeds I plan on starting and by all means not an exhaustive list...

 Sweet pea (I know these could over run my greenhouse quick so will leave a touch later!)


  • You have to bear in mind that even if you get your plants ready for the garden, the garden might not be ready for them. It may be possible to harden off some of the tougher, hardy ones, but half hardies like dahlias, nasturtiums and geraniums (if you mean pelargoniums) will not be safe outside until after the last frost. That can easily be the end of May and you could have vigourous little plants by then, from a late Feb/early March sowing. They will grow more strongly and faster with the better light and the increasing day length than if you are trying to make them grow at the 'wrong' 'time of year.
    There may just still be time to sow some sweet peas outside though :)

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    There's really nothing to be gained by sowing seed just now, for the reasons given. 
    Too cold for sweet pea sowing outside here, but it might be warm enough where you are. I do mine in early October, if I do them in autumn, and then they stay in a growhouse with the lid open. 
    If it's too cool, you could start them in the greenhouse, as a little warmth is all they need to germinate and then they can be kept cooler. They absolutely don't want to be cossetted.  It'll give them a head start though.
    You'll need to pinch them out to keep them bushy for going out next spring.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,174
    IMO, take the Winter off and start sowing next Spring.
    The only seeds that should be sown now, are those that need a period of vernalisation.
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,293
    If you start them off in your greenhouse, then prick them out into modules, then pot them on two or three, maybe four times, you’re going to need acres of brightly lit, frost-free growing space in your greenhouse ... how much space have you got for all these plants until they can go out in early June?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,724
    I have done sweet peas,fox gloves ,cornflowers.  Greenhouses are now full of lots of stuff, so no more sowing (only sewing!) for now.  Because you then have to pot on, and its amazing how much room you need.
  • jamesunsworthjamesunsworth WiganPosts: 26
    Some good advice, thanks alot.

    Looks like I'll just spend the winter growing some bits of veg in the greenhouse and save the flowers til next year, although I've got some pelargonium cuttings and garvinea divisions to keep my need to do something flower related at bay!

    Thanks again everybody 
Sign In or Register to comment.