When starting a garden, you have two choices: planting seeds or seedlings (and other transplants). Those looking to have a close-to-instant garden will likely want to begin with already-sprouted plants. But if you decide to go the seed route, you may want to pick seeds that will produce at least something green as soon as possible.
In an article for Well + Good, writer Francesca Krempa spoke with Allison Vallin, an organic gardener from Maine, to find out which seeds sprout the fastest. Here’s what to know.
Do some seeds really grow faster than others?
If we learned one thing from those science experiments in school where we planted seeds in a paper cup, it’s that it takes a while before you see anything green. While Vallin says that it’s true that some seeds sprout earlier than others, that doesn’t mean they’ll all produce colorful blooms right away.
“Just because a seed germinates fast doesn’t mean that it blooms fast,” she tells Well + Good. “For example, flowers like violas and petunias take longer for their seeds to germinate than zinnias and cosmos, but they will produce their first flowers much earlier than the later.”
5 types of seeds that sprout (relatively) quickly
When it comes to flowers, Vallin has five recommendations for seeds that will sprout faster than others:
Don’t worry if you don’t have a large plot of land: not all sunflowers are huge. Vallin recommends planting seeds for dwarf sunflowers (which produce buds between 6-14 inches) in a self-draining pot or garden bed.
Eventually, nasturium seeds will grow into bushes that are red, orange, and yellow in color. “Nasturiums are drought-tolerant, so no need to overwater,” Vallin says. “Simply sow in regular soil and plant the seeds 1/2-inch deep and 10-feet apart. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil.”
After planting calendulas seeds, Vallin recommends cutting off any dying blooms to make room for healthy growth. “The plant actively drops its seed, so you can expect to see ‘volunteers’ pop-up next spring,” she adds.
Eventually these seeds will produce purple, white, blue, and pink flowers. They come in perennial and annual varieties, and while the perennials might be less work in the long run, if you’re going for sprouting speed, Vallin recommends the annuals if you’re looking for speed.
Not only are marigolds great companion plants, they also sprout quickly.