There’s nothing more rewarding than growing from seed. That moment where you see the soil surface just breaking with a fresh green shoot is beyond magical! So if you now buy your petunias and geraniums as young plants, I suggest you challenge yourself, and explore the plant world with my list of 10 unusual things to grow from seed:
The newest salad leaf, which I’m sure will be filling the salad bags in your supermarket very soon. Fresh, crunchy, rocket-style leaves with a spicy after-flavour! But, don’t worry, it isn’t as strong as the real thing! So easy to grow from seed, at any time of year, and ready to eat in just 4-5 weeks from sowing. Grow some on the windowsill, so you can devour some with every meal!
This diminutive little thing has so many different names; from mouse melon to cucamelon to mini watermelon and even Mexican sour gherkin! The vigorous plants are great for screening or patio obelisks, and are decorative in their own. But, take a peek beneath the leaves in midsummer and you’ll spy the little striped fruits, which only reach the size of a large olive and has a cucumber flavour!
If you’re a little bit impatient, then you should to grow a banana! Each plant will put on rapid growth and appears quite lush and exotic. With the right care, plants can product fruit in the UK too! Fun to grow from seed, you’ll feel all tingly from the moment that first over-sized leaf bursts through the soil!
Conversely to the banana, you’ll need a lot of patience for growing a Strelitzia! The journey from germination to flowering can take up to 7 years… Similar in appearance to a banana, but a bit more leathery, the Bird of Paradise makes a talking point in a conservatory and once that iridescent flower appears, you’ll want to invite all your friends round to have a look!
The flower colour of this unique Meconopsis just cannot be described; it is metallic and shimmers purple or blue, depending on which direction you look at it from! A connoisseur’s choice of plant; perfect for damp, shady corners.
Imagine a ‘garden-friendly’ Nasturtium and you have ‘Phoenix’! Smaller growth than the usual giant cabbage-like specimens, and the flowers are super decorative, with a serrated appearance, and in the case of yellow- FRAGRANT! Don’t forget, pretty much all parts of Nasturtiums are edible too, so jazz up your summer food plates!
Bump up your antioxidant intake with the only fully purple carrot! Purple Sun is purple right through to the core; in fact, it doesn’t look anything like a carrot! Simple to grow, really fun for kids and imagine what you could make with it; purple julienne carrots, purple carrot cake, and so on…
Another glorious metallic flower, it’s hard to believe that Turquoise Lagoon is actually a reject from a breeding programme! The delicate flowers are iridescent, with mauve, blue and pink featuring. This is the start of some very different colours for the sweet pea family, so keep your eyes peeled!
Err.. sometimes called the ‘Flower of Death’, this cheerful Lisianthus is actually an amazing seed to be able to get your hands on, as it’s the blackest of any known flower! This plant is just all about the drama; would you believe it’s way more than a metre tall too; think Nicotiana sylvestris, but black!
This one has to be seen to be believed! Again, superb, beguiling black flowers and- when you look up close- the blooms do actually resemble a bat as well! Not only that, you’ll love the vinyl-esque shiny foliage too! A nice little challenge to grow from seed!