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Sowing hardy annuals

I'm growing in confidence with raising plants from seed. I've grown foxgloves, aubretia, tomatoes, sunflowers, verbena rigida, petunias, pelargoniums, trailing lobelia, all from seed in the greenhouse but next, I want to sow some hardy annuals directly. I've always grown in seed trays, as I'm worried the winter will kill them, I can't believe they'll survive, or I'll pull up the seedlings mistaking them for weeds. Growing direct will help as I'm always running out of space in the house. And if I do sow in winter in the greenhouse. I'm likely to forget about them and forget about watering them, equalling dead seedlings. I did this last year with the sweetpeas.

I'm looking at calendula, Ammi majus or Gypsophila elegans 'Covent Garden', Eschscholzia californica, or anything that attracts the bees and butterflies. 

I guess I need to start small, gain some success and the confidence will come.

But any advice is welcome on how you do it?

What were your first direct sown flowers (successes and failures)?

What are your favourite hardy annuals that never fail you?

Thanks for reading x


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,169

    I know that a lot of people do that but I don't, I'd never see them again, as soon as they pop their heads up the slugs have them, then the weeds smother them, so even though they are listed as hardy annuals, I always get them to big plants in trays first.

    good luck with your project though, you've done very well so far.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • CarolineOCarolineO Posts: 5

    I haven't direct sown hardy annuals in autumn, but I guess the same rules would apply as to spring sowings - sow in drills so you can identify weeds vs seedlings, weed free seed bed, put out slug traps.  I'm not sure how well the seedlings would compete with the weeds though.  Alternatively, sow early August into seed  trays for planting out before your last frost as big-ish seedlings.  Cosmos, cornflowers and nigella are pretty reliable for me.  Zinnias are tender though so they wouldnt survive overwintering unless they have protection.  Good luck!   

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