I’ve started to think about what I’d like to grow this year. Naturally I’ll be growing plants for our bees and butterflies and I also like to grow flowers specifically for cutting.
I love to have fresh flowers indoors and of course I love to receive flowers as a gift… but there’s nothing quite like picking a big, generous bunch of flowers that I’ve grown myself. Everything about growing flowers is thoroughly enjoyable to me. Not only does it help to satisfy my urge to be creative but also it gets me outside and in contact with nature. Often it only takes a matter of weeks to get the results I’m after. From sowing tiny seeds in February or March through nurturing young plants to picking the first blooms in May and June can often take just 10 to 12 weeks.
Sow Hardy Annual Flower Seeds Under Cover
January is a great time to sow some Hardy Annual flower seeds and some Hardy Perennials under cover.
- Lathyrus odoratus Sweet Pea
- Lathyrus latifolius Perennial Sweet Pea
- Daucus carota Wild Carrot
- Daucus carota ‘Dara’
- Achillea millefolium
- Alchemilla mollis
- Echinops ritro
- Gaura lindheimeri
To get them started there’s no need for any fancy equipment or very much room. I always sow my early seeds in the kitchen then pop them onto the windowsill to germinate if they need light or in the boiler room if they need dark conditions. An airing cupboard will do just as well. Once your seedlings are growing they can be moved to somewhere light and they will tolerate much cooler conditions… somewhere like a coldframe, porch or greenhouse is ideal.
SWEET PEAS can be sown in January for early flowering this year. I like to sow Sweet Peas in succession so I’ll save half the seeds to sow again in spring. That way flowers will be produced for months longer than they would with a single sowing.
If you don’t like scented flowers then Perennial Sweet Peas can be a great alternative. There’s not a huge range of colours… just pink, white and red and they are beautiful climbers which reappear year after year.
Also hardy plants such as Daucus can be sown indoors this month. They make lovey lacy fillers in the garden and as cut flowers in a mixed vase too. Daucus carota is quite similar to Ammi with tall stems and frothy white flowers. Daucus carota ‘Dara’ has blooms in shades of soft pink to burgundy so they are very attractive and useful. Strictly speaking Daucus is a Biennial plant but you can treat it like a Hardy Annual so you can choose the flowering time. Sow in January or February indoors for flowers from May onwards, direct sow in April/May for flowers in summer and autumn. Sow in June to September as you would for other Biennial plants for flowers the following year.
As with my Sweet Peas I usually sow at least two batches of Daucus. Not that I’m greedy or anything… I just like a lot of flowers around me in the garden and these plants are so productive. It’s lovely to be able to cut plenty of long stems and vines whenever I want them for our home. Also I find there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of giving a gift of home grown flowers to my friends and family whenever I want to.
Cobaea and Cleome do really well from an early sowing in you have a greenhouse or poly tunnel. These plants that take a little longer to grow and flower, so you’ll benefit by sowing them early. They are Half Hardy Annuals and will not stand our cold and wet conditions outdoors so they can be sown now under cover then grown on in pots until it’s warm enough to move them outdoors… usually April or May.
Half Hardy Annuals to Sow in January
For best results sow seeds on their sides rather than flat. I’m sowing my first batch of seeds indoors then placing the seed trays in the warmest spot in our house which happens to be the boiler room. Often seeds that usually take a week to ten days to germinate appear within 2 or 3 days in there. As soon as I’m happy that most of the seeds have sprouted I move them to a cooler spot on the kitchen window sill where I can keep my beady eyes on them. At this stage I’ll be checking if they need more water or light so I can take the appropriate action.
For the earliest flowers sow Cleome indoors in late winter to early spring. (Jan -March) Please note that Cleome needs cold moist stratification before sowing for best germination. Afterwards sow seeds on the surface of fine compost indoors at 18-24C. Seeds need light to germinate so do not cover. When seedlings are well developed pot up and grow on individually under cover. Pinch out tips to encourage more shoots to form. They can be planted out after all danger of frost has gone… usually the May in the UK. Take care when handling, Cleome hates root disturbance.
If you don’t have a greenhouse then it’s probably best to wait until April or May then sow your Cleome seeds directly where you want them to flower.
Perennials to Sow in January
Alchemilla mollis, Achillea millefolium, Gaura lindheimeri and Echinops ritro can all be started off this month. You’ll find detailed growing information in the shop if you need to know more about any of these plants.
Just writing about these flowers has got me looking forward to spring and summer. I know it’s still mid-winter and I also know that a few minutes spent sowing seeds this month will mean much less work for me later on. I’ll have plenty of beautiful flowers to pick if I start now. The forecast is for wet weather this week… perfect for sowing seeds indoors! Gillian 🙂
Do you sow seeds in January?
Which seeds are you sowing this month?