best annuals from seed

busyd95September 6, 2006

The growing season here isn't over yet, but I'm looking at my garden and already thinking about next year.

What are your favorite annuals from seed? Do you start them under lights (I just got a set last winter and used them for the first time with some mixed results).

So far, my favorites are cosmos, zinnias, and "bunny tails" (sagurus ovatus).

Looking for suggestions for this winter.

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too_many_pets(LI Z7)

I loved my calendula that I winter sowed. I love growing vines like Hyacinth Bean, Morning Glory, and Scarlet Runner bean too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 8:12PM
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Add larkspur and poppies.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 9:06PM
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roses_more_roses(Z9 N CA)

I love growing Nigella (Love in a Mist) it is so easy, and there are so many different types. One of those seeds you can surface sow, and allysum is another favorite, also California poppies. This year I WS Calendula, and it is also a nice addition.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 12:43AM
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Oh, no!

Too Many Pets, I sent all my vegetable seed to a cousin in Africa and thought the Hyacinth Bean I got in a trade was to EAT! Wish I had kept it...and now I have to email him to tell him it isn't food. LOL!

Meanwhile, my favorite annuals (until next year when I have a cottage garden) are ones I throw out on top of the ground:

Golden Guardian marigold which keeps the weeds totally shaded and makes a ferny hedge; 'Bright Lights' Cosmos which grows so fast you can have 2 crops in a 160+ day growing season (like Indianapolis has).

And also ones that just come back on their own, year after year: Moss Roses, Impatiens, Zinnias, Four O'Clocks, Cleome, but be prepared to yank extra seedlings out on the Cleome.

I'm sure there are more in both categories (as mentioned in posts above), but these are the ones I've been growing for the last 5 years or so. Naturally I'm getting bored with them, and I have traded and SASBEd for a lot of great stuff since I joined GW....I am soooo excited for January to come that I can hardly stand it!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 3:03AM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

All of the above, plus marigolds, snaps, touch-me-nots, dianthus, salvia, and annual grasses.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 8:00AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

Cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds are my favorites. All 3 germinate and grow very quickly for me, plus new colors and sizes are being introduced all the time. I think everyone needs some dependables in their least I do. :-) They make up for some of my not-so-successful experiments!

New favorites, and successful experiments, this year: Nigella, Nicotiana, California Poppies, Sweet Peas.

I don't use lights, nor do I WS anymore. With our long growing season, and the mild winters, just broadcasting seeds works well for me. Occasionally I will start seeds indoors by just planting them in styrofoam cups, and putting them on a windowsill.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 9:32AM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

One of my favorites is the herb sweet annie. It doesn't flower but the foliage is ferny and has the most wonderful scent. A good filler with cut flowers and it is great in dried arrangements because it keeps it's scent for a while. It self seeds, so once you have it, you will always have some.

Cleome is another favorite. No bugs, no disease. Great tall background plant that never needs staking in my garden. Makes a good cut flower used with roses.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 11:09AM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

All of the above and add Nasturtiums, Sunflowers, Bachelor Buttons and Tithonia Rotundiflora. All very easy to grow from seed.

I will have Tithonia Rotundiflora available for the seed swap. Mine grew 6 feet, bushy and is a great butterfly magnet. Still blooming profusely. I love it because it's drought tolerant.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 2:10PM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

Shame on me...forgot to mention my absolute favorite....Sweetpeas :-)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 2:11PM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

I mentioned them for you, Sweet Pea Queen! :-)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 2:46PM
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Too many pets, this is my first year ever to grow Hyacinth Beans. Could you please tell me how do I get the seeds? Lou

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 3:09PM
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I have to agree with Zinnas and marigolds! Two of my all-time faves. Cypress vines are wonderful-talk about great ferny foliage! I also love the trailing verbena and African daisies.

I'm going to try nigella this winter. Sunflowers, too!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 3:53PM
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too_many_pets(LI Z7)

Lou...It's the easiest thing. Soon the plant will grow beautiful purple seed pods. When they start to get dry, just open the pod and collect the seeds. The seeds are big & easy to handle. It's very easy to grow from seed. I just sow them right in the ground in the Spring(after last freeze.) Check out this picture....

Here is a link that might be useful: collecting seeds

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 6:48PM
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Just don't grow more than one hyacinth bean : ) It must be where they got the Jack in the Beanstalk story.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 8:12PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Malva Zebrina, Lavender Lady, Foxgloves, Hollyhocks, and columbines

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 8:28AM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

I grew Foxglove for the first time from seed. Thanks to the lady from England (and Tracy) I got them from last years seed swap. They are so big and healthy, I can hardly wait to see what blooms I'll get next year.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 12:33PM
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daisydo(6 TN)

Melampodium, black-eyed susan vine, snow on the mountain,
all zinnias, and coleus. All are very easy to grow and very low maintenance!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 12:38PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Sorry, just realized I put perennials in that list!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 7:54AM
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spartangardener(z4 MN)

I wintersow everything except state fair zinnias, mg's and hyacinth bean, which I start by the same method in April here in MN.

Those are three of my favorite annuals from seed. OThers include:

nicotiana - amazingly fragrant on those hot July nights
rocket larkspur - a real cottage garden look
portulaca - blossoms for months
amaranthus purple feather - the general reaction to this is "what is THAT? I HAVE to have that."
kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate - so cottage
cosmos - the short ones and the orange ones
verbena bonariensis - looks great with everything
4:00's - new to me this year, and incredibly sweet-smelling
lobelia - looks best in the fall
alyssum - blooms til NOvember here
salvia farinacea - also a great fall filler with mums
shirley poppies
california poppies
sweet annie - this has to be harvested before the seed drops otherwise it takes over the neighborhood, but it smells fantastic
sweet peas
pony tails annual grass

Stuff I do not like:
tidy tips
nicandra- nondescript and poisonous. two huge strikes against it
collinsia - nondescript, doesn't do much
diascia - this never does anything for me
ammi - very nondescript
bachelor's buttons - used to like these, but they just get raggedy
gypsophila - lasts all of about a week

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 6:39PM
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