10 seeds to sow in January

The arrival of the new year brings with it the opportunity to sow some seeds indoors for the year ahead.

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For some plants, including tropical crops like chillies and aubergines, an early start is the best way you’ll get them to produce a worthwhile crop.

However, early sowing will require some patience. Low light levels and high temperatures indoors can produce weak seedlings, prone to ‘damping off’. Prevent issues by thoroughly cleaning everything that will come into contact with seeds or seedlings. Use good peat-free seed compost – it’s worth spending a bit more for a good brand.

Don’t forget to read all of our tips for success with early sowing, at the bottom of this page.

Discover 10 seeds to sow in January, below.

Low light levels and high temperatures indoors can produce weak seedlings, prone to ‘damping off’.
1

Pelargoniums

Flowers June to October/November.

Sow thinly in small seed trays using seed compost + 10 per cent grit; barely bury the seeds.

Temperature 24°C (75°F); germination takes 3-12 days.

Red pelargonium flowers 2

Sweet peas

Flowers May/June to August.

Sow seeds 6cm deep in ‘tubes’ or 7cm pots using seed compost + 10 per cent grit.

Temperature 12°C (55°F), unheated greenhouse or cold frame; germination 10-14 days.

Pink sweet peas 3

Dahlias

Flowers July to October/November.

Sow 1-2 seeds in cells or small pots using seed compost + 10 per cent vermiculite.

Temperature 18-21°C (65-70°F), germination takes approximately 5-20 days.

Pink, single dahlias 4

Delphinium

Flowers June and July.

Sow thinly in trays of seed compost + 10 per cent vermiculite; barely cover with vermiculite.

Temperature Keep in fridge for three weeks, then 15-21°C (59-70°F); germination takes 7-28 days.

Tall spires of pink and blue delphinium flowers 5

Basil

Harvest May to October.

Sow thinly on the surface of pots or trays of seed compost; cover with vermiculite.

Temperature 15-25°C (59-77°F); germination takes 14-21 days depending on temperature.

Basil leaves 6

Begonias, tuberous and bedding types

Flowers July to October/November.

Sow thinly on the surface in trays of seed compost with a thin layer of vermiculite.

Temperature 19-24°C (66-77°F); germination slow, 15-60 days, light essential.

Yellow-orange-red begonia flowers 7

Chillies and aubergines

Harvest July to October.

Sow 2-3 seeds thinly per small individual pot using seed compost + 10 per cent silver sand. Cover to own depth with vermiculite.

Temperature 21-27°C (70-80°F); germination 3-10 days.

Crop of red chillis 8

Petunias

Flowers late June to September.

Sow thinly on the surface in small trays of seed compost + 10 per cent vermiculite and lightly dust with vermiculite to barely cover.

Temperature 24-27°C (75-80°F); germination 14 days, light essential.

Velvety, crimson petunias 9

Iceland poppies

Flowers June to October.

Sow 2-3 seeds on the surface of each small individual pot of seed compost + 20 per cent fine grit.

Temperature 12°C (55°F) in a cold frame; germination takes 14-21 days.

Pale-lemon Iceland poppies 10

Coleus

Foliage display June onwards.

Sow thinly in pots or a tray using seed compost + 10 per cent vermiculite, covering to its own depth.

Temperature 19-24°C (65-75°F); germination 10-20 days depending on temperature.

Striking deep-pink, pale-yellow and green foliage of coleus

Early sowing dos and don’ts

  • Do clean everything that will come into contact with seeds or seedlings, including pots, dibbers and drip trays
  • Do use new compost. It needs to drain freely yet hold just enough moisture – peat-free seed compost is ideal
  • Do reserve a bright, warm windowsill for sowing, where the temperature stays fairly steady
  • Do sow seeds even more thinly than usual, so that seedlings will have space to grow – overcrowding will encourage damping off
  • Do give germinating seeds plenty of air by opening ventilators even if it seems a waste of heat
  • Do wipe away condensation in propagators once or twice daily
  • Do check seeds and seedlings daily, so that you can take remedial action before problems develop

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  • Don’t use too much heat – results are a bit slower but there’s less risk of legginess and more damping off

Sign in to Blooming Secrets

We kick off the New Year with some beautiful flowers that can all be grown from bulbs. All are bright colorful flowers available in any color scheme you are using in your garden.

Freesia

Freesia are native to South Africa and come in a wide array of bright colors. Their beautiful blooms are often overshadowed by their exquisite fragrance which is considered by many gardeners to be superb. Freesia are grown from corms in a similar manner as you would grow Gladiolus. In garden zones 9 and higher they can be planted in the fall for pretty blooms in the spring but in cooler garden zones they should be planted in the spring to enjoy their pretty flowers in the summer. They require soil that drains well and should be planted in full sun.

Acidanthera

Acidanthera are a variety of Gladiolus that is commonly found in Ethiopia and other parts of Southern Africa. Like more well-known varieties of Gladiolus, its corms are planted in the spring with their sweet-smelling white and purple flowers arriving during the summer months. Surprisingly they are hardier than many varieties of Gladiolus and can survive winters in zones as low as 6 with some protection. Acidanthera should be planted in sunny areas with soil that drains well. They look best in mass plantings and make an excellent cut flower.

Foxtail Lily

Want to add a little drama to your garden? Try growing the Foxtail Lily also known as Eremurus. This summer-flowering plant sends up spikes of eye-catching flowers that can’t be ignored. They grow best in sunny locations in soil that drains well. Too much water will cause the roots to rot. If planted in an area that is windy the flower stalks may require staking and when the leaves emerge they can be targeted by slugs and snails. Otherwise, once established this is a low maintenance plant that will make a great addition to any garden.

Liatris

Liatris, also known as Gayflower, is a wildflower native to the prairies of the Midwest. Its flowers are unusual in that they flower from the top of the bud down rather than the other way around. Its wand-like blooms stand 2 to 5 fee above its grassy leaves and may require support if planted in a windy location It grows best in soils that drain well in a sunny location and during the winter it requires some mulch to protect its roots from being pushed out of the ground by cycles of freezing and thawing.

Baboon Flower

Baboon Flower gets its name because Baboon’s often dig up the corms for food. As you might suspect it is native to Africa and its flowers resemble Freesia blooms. They do well in garden zones 3 through 10 but they should be treated as a tender bulb in areas where the ground freezes in the winter. They are useful in containers as well as an edging plant in a flower border. It is usually sold as a mix with flowers that come in shades of white, pink, purple and blue. They tolerate a wide variety of soil types and prefer sunny conditions.

10 Best Flowers to Plant in the Summer

Summer will be here before you know it (you may be feeling it already) and this means long, hot days and bright, cheery flower gardens. We talked about which bulbs are best to plant in the spring but if you waited too long, no need to worry, there are still flowers you can plant that will withstand the heat and thrive during this time of year. Read on for our list of the best flowers to plant during the summer and get that colorful garden you’ve always dreamed of.

Marigold

It’s hard to find a flower that’s more cheerful than the classic Marigold. Available in bright, warm yellows and oranges, Marigolds are a must for your summer garden. These flowers require lots of sunshine and very little maintenance.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Black-eyed Susan

The black-eyed Susan may be one of the most popular wildflowers around and remains a welcoming sight to any garden. These tough, golden flowers thrive in the sunshine and get along with just about any other flower out there. They also make great cut flowers and will liven up any bouquet.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-9

Type: Annual/Perennial

Aster

You’re most likely to see this garden favorite in a rich purple or lavender, but don’t be too surprised to see pink and white flowers as well. This dainty flower can withstand the heat, and adds a soft touch to any garden. Expect to enjoy these flowers from spring through fall.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Type: Perennial

Lantana

These low-maintenance flowers come in a wide array of colors, including red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. They’ll bloom all season long and are extremely drought tolerant, making them the ideal summer flower to really make your garden pop.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual/Perennial

Blanket Flower

These cheerful, long-blooming flowers consist of red petals tipped with yellow which makes it easy to see how they got their name. Add them to your garden and you’ll have a great option for both summer themed containers and bouquets.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 3-11

Type: Perennial

Verbena

This spreading flower comes in several colors and is ideal for spaces where you want to create a cascading appearance. Plant them in flower boxes, pots, and on retaining walls to get countless clusters of these beauties all season long.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 7-9

Type: Annual/Perennial

Zinnia

Zinnias are a cheap way to add some stunning color to your garden in just a few weeks. They attract butterflies, so expect to see some new friends in your garden. Like most summer flowers, these do best in full sunshine.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Hibiscus

The hibiscus is a classic flower that can grow surprisingly large. They bring a tropical look to your yard even if you don’t necessarily live in a tropical climate. This plant will require space and plenty of water in order to thrive.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 6-11

Type: Perennial

Globe Amaranth

This summer favorite will provide pom-pom like flowers in purple, red, and white all the way into late fall. This plant is not fussy and will do well in a variety of soils and moisture levels, so plant away and let it work it’s magic.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Purple Coneflower

This attractive flower grows incredibly fast and will attract birds and butterflies to your garden. The coneflower also spreads easily so you’ll want to give it some space to grow. Once you do, you won’t regret it.

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Type: Perennial

We hope this list provides you with some inspiration to add some liveliness to your summer garden this year. Happy gardening!

Note: You can view the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map here.

What to sow and grow in May

Sow poppies to attract pollinators
Image: Poppy ‘Cherry Glow’ by Thompson & Morgan

May is here at last. The weather is warmer and sunnier, the days are getting longer and summer is definitely on its way.

There’s plenty to sow and grow this month – and here are our top picks to keep you busy in the garden:

Flowers to sow and grow

If want a dazzling display this year, start larkspur off in pots.
Image: Larkspur ‘The Seven Dwarves’ by Thompson & Morgan

Here are the flowers to sow and grow this May:

In the greenhouse / indoors

  • • Start larkspur off in pots. This annual has similar flowers to delphinium, but is much easier to grow.
  • • Sow helipterum indoors – they make excellent dried flowers.
  • • Start salvia off indoors this month to brighten up your summer bedding.
  • • Start to sow foxgloves, sweet William and wallflowers in seed trays, for flowering next year.
  • • Sow perennials, like delphiniums, lupins, aquilegia and primula, in seed trays for flowering next year and in the years to come.
  • • Plant up pots and baskets of summer bedding and harden off before placing in position. In cold areas wait until June to do this.

Direct sow outdoors

  • • Direct sow sunflowers now.
  • • Grow nasturtiums either in pots or directly outdoors in your borders and containers.
  • • Direct sow poppies, cornflowers and scabious to attract bees and butterflies into your garden. For more ideas on how to attract wildlife into your garden, .
  • • Try direct sowing godetias (clarkia) for easy colour in your flower beds this summer.
  • • Direct sow candytuft around the edge of your beds to add a touch of pink.
  • • Direct sow limnanthes to bring beneficial insects into your garden and vegetable plot.
  • • Try sowing linaria to fill beds and borders with vibrant colour.
  • • Direct sow nigella – they have most unusual shaped flowers and very attractive seed pods too.

Herbs & Vegetables to sow and grow

Start cucumbers off in module trays this May
Image: Tortoon

Here’s what to sow and grow in the vegetable garden this month:

  • • Start off sweetcorn in modules ready for planting out once all risk of frost has passed. Grow at least 12 plants for good pollination and cropping.
  • • Sow basil in pots for the greenhouse or patio – this Mediterranean staple thrives in warm conditions.
  • • Sow courgette, marrow, squash, and pumpkin seeds under cover now.
  • • Try sowing lettuce in module trays under glass for transplanting into the garden later. Sow every 3 or 4 weeks for continuous harvesting.
  • • Sow cucumber and gherkin seeds in individual pots or modules.
  • • Sow runner beans and french beans under cover, sowing individually into module trays for planting out after the risk of frost has passed.
  • • Start kale seeds under cover now – yes, it really is time to think ahead to winter cropping!
  • • Sow perennial herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, lovage and lemon balm under cover.
  • • Plant glasshouse tomatoes in beds or growing bags.
  • • Direct sow borage and use the flowers for garnishing salads and desserts.
  • • Try growing comfrey in a neglected corner of the garden – it can be used to make fertiliser or for mulching, and is a rich source of nutrients. Direct sow or sow into seed trays indoors.
  • • Sow beetroot seeds thinly, directly into the ground.
  • • Sow broccoli and calabrese in a nursery bed for transplanting later on, or sow directly in your vegetable plot.
  • • Direct sow cabbages. Net them early on to prevent cabbage-white butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves.
  • • Sow Brussels sprouts outdoors now.
  • • Direct sow carrots in rows and protect with fleece or enviromesh to prevent carrot-fly attack.
  • • Sow chicory directly into the soil now.
  • • Sow herbs such as chives, coriander, dill and parsley directly into the ground or in containers.
  • • Try growing hardy corn salad (Lamb’s Lettuce) outdoors, for summer and winter salads.
  • • Direct sow kohl rabi – it will be ready in as little as 8 weeks.
  • • Sow peas directly into the ground, or start them off in modules if mice are a problem.
  • • Try direct sowing nutritious pak choi every 3 weeks for a continuous crop.
  • • Direct sow your parsnip seeds now. Sow 3 or 4 seeds every 20 cm and thin to the strongest plant.
  • • Sow radish seeds directly into the soil for quick and easy home-grown salad.
  • • Sow salad leaves directly into the ground or in containers.
  • • Start cauliflower seeds under cover.
  • • Sow spinach seeds in soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Try growing spinach ‘Perpetual’ if you have very dry soil.
  • • Sow spring onion seeds in drills outdoors for a quick crop to flavour salads and stir fries.
  • • Try Swiss chard sown outdoors for a colourful crop – it even looks great in flower beds!
  • • Sow swede seeds outdoors in a rich, fertile soil for autumn and winter crops.
  • • Start to sow turnips now for a great addition to casseroles and stews.
  • • Grow your own watercress in containers, making sure the container is sitting in 2-3 inches of water at all times.

Plant outdoors

It’s time to plant leeks out to their final position.
Image:

  • • Plant out brassicas and leeks to their final positions.

Fruit to sow and grow

Try growing these fruits this month:

  • • Sow melons in individual modules now – for the best crops, try growing a variety suited to the British climate, such as ‘Orange Sherbert ‘.

Keep one step ahead – what to order this month:

  • • Order runner beans and french beans.
  • • Buy spinach seeds to sow next month.
  • • Order tomato plants.

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