Scattering a handful of hardy annual flower seeds is an easy and cost-effective way to enjoy bursts of wildlife-friendly colour throughout the summer. For inspiration and advice, we’ve gathered together some helpful videos, articles and Instagram posts. Along with sowing and germination tips, these experienced growers have shared some of their favourite annual varieties to get you excited.
Browse our full collection of hardy annual seeds to find classic red poppies, scented sweet peas, exotic looking zinnias and much more.
Direct sow annual seeds in spring for easy colour
You don’t have to be too careful when sowing your hardy annual seeds. Instagrammer Kay at @brook_cottage_ has a “very laissez-faire attitude,” joyfully scattering them directly onto her beds early in the year to great effect. She was particularly pleased with Ammi majus which added fabulous, airy height to her relaxed planting scheme. Check out her Instagram page to see her fantastic garden in full bloom.
Autumn sow hardy annual seeds for a stress-free head start
“I highly recommend autumn sowing,” says Tamsin over at @wiltshiregardener. “I find it so much easier, the seeds and seedlings need a lot less attention and look at the lovely root system,”she explains.Her autumn sown nigella plants certainly do have super root systems and her sweet peas are also off to a flying start. If you want your garden to burst into bloom as early as possible, try sowing your hardy annual seeds in autumn like Tamsin. Check out her inspirational reels for more practical tips.
Sow hardy annual seeds at the allotment to encourage pollinators
Sow nigella and cornflower seeds to attract pollinators to your allotment fruit and veg. YouTube allotmenteers Rachel and Anthony at Don’t Crop Me Now always include blooms in their allotment plan to bring in the bees. Watch their gorgeous little ‘short’ to see how they’ve incorporated annual flowers like cosmos and sunflowers into their fabulous allotment.
Water trays of hardy annuals seeds from below
Professional flower farmer and YouTuber Sarah from Bloom & Gray – Flower Farm has lots of expert tips to share when it comes to growing beautiful blooms. This plantswoman starts her annual flower seeds in trays in autumn to give her plants a head start on spring growth. Her advice? Use capillary matting to water your trays of germinating seeds from below to minimise disturbance. Watch the full video to see her custom made watering system and to find out how she gets such brilliant germination rates.
Pinch out your snapdragons for bushier plants and a bonus crop
Over at Green Side Up, Steve gets a double crop from his annual antirrhinum seeds. This clever gardener pinches out his seedlings in spring, not only for bushier and more floriferous plants, but also so that he can use the cuttings to make even more snapdragons through the summer. Watch his video for helpful hints and to learn how to make his clever anti-slug seed tray.
Transplant overcrowded seedlings to the veg patch as companion plants
Direct sow your hardy annual flower seeds to save time and space. If your seedlings become too crowded, simply transplant a few to the veggie patch as companion plants, says YouTuber Barry at Grow It!. Some marigolds make better companion plants than others, he explains. If you grow tomatoes, he says that French marigolds are the best option. Watch his full video for a fascinating insight into direct seed sowing.
Some hardy annual seeds benefit from sowing a bit later than others
Timing is important, and you should delay sowing your zinnia seeds until the first week in May, says Annelise Brilli at the Thompson & Morgan blog. That’s because some annual flower seeds germinate best without fluctuations in temperature. Hailing from warm, sunny Mexico, these hardy annuals bring a tropical magic to the summer garden with their bright jewel hues. They make fantastic cut flowers too!
Choose hardy annual flowers that are edible and ornamental
Did you know some hardy annuals could double as an edible crop? Writing for the Thompson & Morgan blog, trained gardener Nic Wilson recommends colourful nasturtiums for their peppery tasting flowers and leaves. Later in the season, their seeds are delicious pickled too — “a favourite pizza topping in our house,” she enthuses. Read her full article for lots of tips on how to create beautiful and cost-effective displays with annual flowers.
Sow annual flower seeds in drifts to mimic nature
Nothing beats the bright red of the native poppy! These stunning hardy annual seeds are best sown in drifts to make a huge statement as they come into flower in early summer, say the garden experts at Thompson & Morgan. Remember to sprinkle your poppy seeds randomly to make your display look as natural as possible. For specific tips on how to grow poppies from seed, read the full article.
Try saving your own hardy annual seeds to grow again next year
Whether you’ve grown a super tall ‘Russian Giant’ or pot-perfect dwarf varieties, sunflowers always produce plenty of seeds, says YouTuber Ray at Gardening for Beginners. When your flower heads start to brown at the end of summer try harvesting a handful to sow the following spring. Just don’t let the birds get there first, warns Ray. It’s their favourite snack! Watch his video for helpful tips.
We hope you’ve picked up lots of tips to help you fill your garden with hardy annual colour. You’ll find even more information and advice on sowing annual flower seeds over at our annuals hub page. And to keep up to date with our latest products and gardening news, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
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