Do you want to enjoy a beautiful flower garden without spending money on annuals each year? You can save money on flowers for your garden by buying more seeds and fewer plants. The following flowers are among the easiest to grow from seed:
- Bachelor's Button: These blue flowers look like miniature carnations. They look great next to yellow or orange colored flowers, such as marigolds. Buy a packet of seeds, and sow them directly in your flower bed. They flower from mid-summer until the first frost. Collect the brown seed pods at the end of the season, and plan them in another area of your garden next year. Bachelor's button flowers are edible, so you can even add them to salads for a splash of color.
- Calendula: These blooms are often gold or orange, and they make a nice edging plant or container plant. Like Bachelor's Buttons, they're edible. Direct sow the seeds in your garden, or start them indoors, and transplant them later. They will self-seed from season to season.
- Columbine: These spring and early summer-blooming perennials come in many colors, and prefer partial shade. Allow them to self-seed, and they'll come back year after year, with no work from you.
- Cosmos: These make good cut flowers for bouquets, and bloom all summer long. They're annuals, but will self-seed readily. They'll even tolerate poor soil, so they're truly low-fuss flowers. Just sow them after the last frost for the year.
- Four O'Clocks: These flowers open in the afternoon -- hence their name -- and also have a lovely fragrance. They bloom from mid-summer to fall. You can grow them from seed or tubers. They are perennial and self-seeding.
- Marigolds: You will have to plant marigolds each year, since they're annuals. But they'll bloom all summer, if you keep them deadheaded. Save some of the seeds at the end of the season, and use them to replant next year.
- Morning Glories: This vine is often grown on trellises or arbors. It is an annual that is started from seeds, and can take until the end of summer to produce its blue or purple blooms. Once it's established, it will come back on its own year after year.
- Moss Rose (also known as portulaca and purslane): These are best in full sun, and make a good ground cover. They come in a range of colors, including pink, orange, yellow and white. Moss rose is highly drought-tolerant, and requires little care. It's also deer-resistant, so you won't have to worry about it getting gobbled up.
- Nasturtiums: You can be nasty to nasturtiums, and they will tolerate your neglect. The leaves and flowers are edible, and often added to salads. But they're perhaps more popular as a cut flower because of their lovely fragrance and beautiful shades or red, orange and yellow. Nasturtiums do not require good soil or much care. In fact, you'll get more blooms, if you skip fertilizing them.
- Shasta Daisies: These are perennials with a long blooming period, and are good for flower borders and using as cut flowers.They're good spreaders, so you don't need many plants to establish a large bed.
- Sunflowers: Sunflowers don't start blooming until late in the season, but when those giant blooms finally emerge, it seems well worth the wait. Sunflowers are annuals, so you'll need to save some of the seeds to replant them next year. Cover a few of the seed heads with netting, so they can dry out, without the birds beating you to them.
- Sweet Alyssum: These have a lovely sweet fragrance. They are annuals you can sow from seed, and they will often self-seed for the next year.
- Sweet Peas: These annuals are climbers, and make nice cut flowers. They don't enjoy the heat, so plant these as soon as the soil is workable.
- Zinnias: This annual adds a lot of color to the garden. They love hot weather, and may not take off until the heat is really on.
If you're really trying to stretch your garden budget, use these tips to get your seeds for free. There's nothing like a garden that you started from nothing.