Calendula (Pot Marigold) is a valuable polliantor attractant in the vegetable garden as well as the annual bed!

Calendula (Pot Marigold) is a valuable polliantor attractant in the vegetable garden as well as the annual bed!

Sowing annual flower seeds in fall? Are we crazy?

The truth is, many of the varieties we label simply as “annual” are really hardy, half-hardy, or tender annuals. Some are actually perennials, but only in tropical climates. All of these can be direct-sown outdoors in autumn for beautiful blooms next spring and summer . . . and some of them are even part of our seed sale!

Every gardener deserves the fragrance and beauty of a bouquet of Sweet Peas!

Every gardener deserves the fragrance and beauty of a bouquet of Sweet Peas!

Sweet Peas

In warm-winter climates (generally zone 7 and farther south and/or west), sweet pea seeds are best sown outdoors anytime from September through November. They love the cold, and will be ready to pop up and start growing in spring!

Nasturtium

Image of Annuals Seeds to Plant in Fall

Find a bright window for this compact Nasturtium and enjoy the blooms well into winter! (They’re also edible . . .)

There’s never a wrong time to start Nasturtium for indoor growing. This well-behaved little trailing plant makes a splendid addition to the kitchen — its flowers are edible and very decorative on salads and cakes! Tip: Soak the seeds overnight in water before sowing, to speed up the germination process.

Pot Marigold (Calendula)

Start seeds right now (late summer/early fall) for a quick fall crop in warm winter areas!

Sometimes Foxglove can me sluggish to bloom the first year, but not if the seeds are begun in fall!

Sometimes Foxglove can me sluggish to bloom the first year, but not if the seeds are begun in fall!

Foxglove

Okay, these are biennials, but they love being sown in fall so we have to mention them. Sow the seeds as early in fall as you can, scattering them on top of the soil in the garden or in pots. (They need light to germinate.) These seeds can take up to a month to sprout, but they aren’t difficult — just slow to start! If you live in a severe climate, let them overwinter in a coldframe. They will be ready to take off in spring!

California Poppy

Image of Flower

Staggeringly beautiful, California Poppy is easy to grow!

Pop these seeds into the ground in late fall, just before the first freeze is due. The seeds will patiently overwinter! Tip: No matter when you sow California poppies, remember to put the seeds directly into the ground or into their final pot — they do not transplant well.

Poor soil, drought, unseasonable heat -- none of it slows down this native beauty!

Poor soil, drought, unseasonable heat — none of it slows down this native beauty!

Eryngo

Fall is the perfect time to sow seeds of this gorgeous Native American annual!

Coreopsis tinctoria

Roulette is a C. tinctoria that goes from sprout to bloom in about 3 months!

Roulette is a C. tinctoria that goes from sprout to bloom in about 3 months!

This is the Calliopsis that decorates the Great Plains and pops up just about everywhere in the country at one time or another! Toss the seeds onto the soil in mid- to late fall and let them overwinter. They will be up and at ’em next spring!

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