Easy annuals from seed

Rob Zimmer

Seed starting season is upon us and many gardeners are getting the itch to start sowing seeds indoors for transplanting out in the garden later in the season.

Starting your own seeds indoors is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. All you need are quality potting or seed starting mix, planting containers, as well as a light source. This can be either inexpensive growing light set up or sunroom. Some varieties will grow even in a bright, sunny window sill.

This week, I'll take a look at some of the easier annual flowers to start from seed indoors.

Be sure to read the seed packet to determine when to begin seed starting for these plants. You don't want to start too early or you'll end up with leggy, unhealthy plants that will not survive transplanting outdoors.

Here are some of my picks for easy, colorful annual seeds:

Purple hyacinth bean is one of the easiest annual flowers to start from seed. Plants with large seeds tend to germinate and grow much better when started from seed than some of the finer seeded annuals.

Sweet pea

One of my favorite, and often underutilized annuals, these flowering vines come in a variety of colors and feature hundreds of frequent blooms that are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Simply plant a half inch to an inch deep, depending on variety and watch them grow.


The large seeds of zinnias make them easy to start indoors. However, there is a catch. Zinnias do not like to be transplanted. Therefore, plant in pots or egg shells, newspaper cups or other starter pots that can be planted directly into the soil and decompose. This will prevent transplant shock at the time of transplanting.

Morning glory

Fast growing but slow to flower, morning glories often do not reach peak bloom until late in summer or fall. But they are worth the wait!

Most zinnia varieties grow well from seed, however, transplanting can be tricky. Start these seeds in recyclable seed starter pots or egg shells that can be planted directly into the garden.

Purple hyacinth bean

A dramatic, colorful and breathtaking flowering vine, purple hyacinth bean is one of the easiest annual flowers to begin from seed.


There are dozens of varieties of sunflowers available to home gardeners. All are easy to start from seed. My favorites are the bronze and maroon "chocolate" sunflowers and the feathery teddy bear.


Everyone remembers their grade school experiment of starting marigold seeds in dixie cups in a bright, sunny window. That is exactly how easy these heirloom favorites are to grow from seed.


Large and airy, the beautiful blooms of cosmos are an excellent choice for late summer blooms, as well as a great choice for songbirds which beast on the large seeds.

Mexican sunflower

Rated one of the number one plants for migrating monarchs during the fall season, Mexican sunflower glows in rich, neon orange.

Mexican sunflower, also called The Torch, like all sunflowers, is easy to grow from seed. These late bloomers benefit from starting indoors to give them a head start.

Decorative corn

There are many varieties of decorative corn available for ornamental use in the garden. The tiny, strawberry like cobs of strawberry popcorn are one example. These are often planted for ornamental use during fall decorating season. Other varieties are grown for their beautiful foliage, including variegated sweet corn with streaked foliage in pink, green and white.


These shade loving foliage annuals are easy to grow from seed scattered in starter trays. Many seed packets offered for sale contain a mixed variety, so simply sow the seeds and enjoy the colorful results.


An excellent choice for borders and containers, nasturtiums come in both bush form and Climbin format. These colorful annual flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, and as an added benefit, are edible and often used as beautiful salad adornments.

Find Rob Zimmer online at On Facebook at Listen to Outdoors with Rob Zimmer, Saturday mornings, 7 to 8 AM on WHBY.