Starting a garden with perennial seeds is not only fun, but also economic. Seeds are far less expensive than plants that are alerady established, and they can yield up to 100 new starter plants. Follow these steps to plant a successful perennial garden.
Know Your Zone
Your first step is to determine the planting zone for the area in which you live. Look at a chart of USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. North America is divided to 11 different zones, each determined by temperature, climate and proximity to the coast—factors that affect which plants grow well there. Zone 1 includes the coldest temperatures while Zone 11 has the warmest. Perennials that grow and thrive in the warm Florida sun would surely not have the same results in Alaska’s harsh winters.
Next, learn the planting requirements for your planting zone. You can find seeds for perennials that love shade or hot sun, lots of rain or hardly any water at all. Even though your seeds will get their start inside, you will eventually transplant them outside, so you’ll need to be familiar with the lighting conditions (full sun, part shade, full shade) in the garden space where you plan to start your garden.
Pick Your Plants
Perennials come in a rainbow of colors and varieties. Use a reference gardening book or view garden examples online to help you choose what colors and varies are right for you. Be sure to keep notes so you know which seed packets to look for at the nursery or garden center!
In addition to the packets of perennial seeds, you’ll need something to sow your seeds in. This can be done in small pots, milk cartons, egg cartons, muffin tins or flats. Be aware that some plants need their soil to drain, so you might need to poke a hole in the bottom of each container. You'll also need enough the right type of soil for each of your perennials.
Plant Your Seeds
Seed packets usually offer information on how to plant each type of seed. While some like to be pushed into the soil, others only like to be sprinkled on top. Be sure to leave enough room between seeds for your plants to grow.
Label them with plastic or wood markers, or write directly on the containers with a permanent marker. Better yet, tape the seed packet directly to the pot or carton, as you'll want to retain the additional information provided on the seed packet, such as when to move the seedlings outdoors.
Give them some water and then find a warm, sunny location for your seedlings, such as a kitchen windowsill or sunroom. You can also use grow lights to encourage your starts.
Add Just Enough Water
Over- or under-watering can be a common problem with potted plants or starts. Be sure to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Your best bet may be to use a squirt or spray bottle. Check on your seedlings daily to ensure the soil is moist, and enjoy watching them grow!