Your garden may not be exactly bursting with blooms this time of year, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait until spring to enjoy Mother Nature’s garden colors. Winter is the perfect time of year to start selecting and planting flower seeds indoors. Not only will you get a head start on spring; starting flowers from seed costs much less than buying seedlings to plant, and offers you a much greater variety than you would find in your local gardening store. And don’t worry–you don’t have to be a master gardener to grow these flowers. Read more to discover 4 flowers that are a cinch to start from seed indoors, and kick your flower garden up a notch!
1. Beautiful Blue Cornflowers
Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus), also called bluebottles or bachelor’s buttons, come in a shade of blue lovely enough to have the color named after them. These gorgeous annuals are also available in pink, purple white and lavender varieties, and thrive in partial shade to full sun. They make lovely borders, groupings or potted flowers, and are ideal for cut and dried flowers. If you plan to grow potted cornflowers, starting them indoors early will make it easy for you to simply move the pots outdoors when warmer weather arrives. Otherwise, you can buy the seeds now and sow them directly into your garden during early spring.
2. Bright, Colorful Pansies
Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are one of the most popular garden flowers for good reason. Their abundant face-shaped blooms come in just about any color combination you could think of, and they will bloom for several months under the right conditions. Pansies are also hardy, and many types are even edible! Start pansies indoors to pay less, transplant them or move their pots outdoors to an area where they will get plenty of sun, and enjoy.
3. Striking Larkspur
Larkspur (Delphinium elatum) is a beautiful perennial with tall, striking spikes of lavender, blue, white or pink flowers. English larkspur is well suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 3b through 7b, which includes most of the U.S. Larkspur is very easy to grow, and seeds typically sprout 3 to 4 weeks after planting. To start larkspur from seed, plant indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost, or sprinkle seeds in your garden in late winter or early spring.
4. Super-Hardy Marigolds
When it comes to flowers, marigolds are truly the full package. These often-underappreciated blooms not only beautify your windowsill or garden; they also make excellent companion plants to a surprising number of vegetables, including asparagus, beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes. Marigolds keep various pests away from your vegetables for a bountiful harvest, and perk up your garden’s appearance at the same time.
As if this weren’t enough to make you start choosing marigold seeds, these sunny flowers are also incredibly easy to grow. Even when starting from seeds, it’s so difficult to go wrong, that marigolds are ideal for introducing young children to gardening. To start marigolds from seed, sow 1/8 inch deep in a pot indoors, or directly into your garden in the spring. Seeds generally sprout within a week of planting.