Some gardeners prefer to start vegetable and flower plants from seed. Others purchase young plants. Most growers do a little of both. Here are tips to help you decide. Both garden starting methods have advantages. So before deciding whether to grow from seed or seedling, take a look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Advantages of Starting From Seed
Pride in Growership: Growing from seed to plant and back to seed allows you to follow the plant through its entire life cycle, and that’s reason enough to give any gardener a sense of accomplishment. This method is more work, but pays off in pride.
Variety to Choose From: Seed catalogs provide a vast range of plant varieties, colors, growth forms; you name it. So starting from seed allows you to choose, very specifically, what you would like to grow rather than having to settle for the plants available at your local garden center.
Lower Cost of Seeds: Growing from seed can also be less expensive than purchasing seedlings, but this is not a given. Starting seeds indoors prior to the outdoor growing season requires that you have the right supplies to create a suitable indoor environment. At least initially, your first season of starting seeds may put a small dent in your pocketbook.
You don’t have to start your seeds indoors. You may be able to wait until the outdoor climate is suitable and then plant the seeds directly in the garden. However, for plants that require a long growing season, starting seeds indoors is sometimes necessary, particularly if you live in a colder climate with a short growing season.
When to Purchase Seedlings and Mature Plants
Convenience At the Expense of Variety: Purchasing seedlings or adult plants is typically more expensive but much more convenient than growing from seed. Sometimes you can mail order young plants, which may provide you with a larger selection of varieties than your local garden center stocks. Large seedlings and adult plants are also a great option if you’ve decided to add a type of plant later in the season that you did not originally include in your garden plan.
Other Reasons to Choose Plants over Seeds: When looking through the seed catalog while in the planning stages of your garden, pay attention to the germination rate of each type of seed you are considering. Some plants, such as lavender for example, are very difficult to grow from seed, and once germinated, grow very slowly. If you are a novice gardener, types of more challenging plants are not the best candidates for growing from seed.