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Step-by-Step Seed Starting Process Tutorial for Your Cut Flower Garden

Are you thinking about growing flowers by seed? Here’s a step-by-step seed starting tutorial for your cut flower garden.

seedlings in greenhouse

It’s getting to be that time again! SEED SOWING TIME! I’ve been sharing the different aspects of growing a cut flower garden. But I thought it would be helpful for those gardeners that are just starting this process if I shared a step-by-step tutorial on how I sow my seeds.

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. So everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.

empty seed cell trays

Steps For Seed Sowing

Choose the Right Container

Seed starting containers should be clean and have drainage holes. For several container options, you can read my blog post Supplies Needed for Seed Starting. More information regarding how to clean your used containers can be found on my post Seed Starting 101 – Growing a Cut Flower Garden Series. I use cell trays and plastic pots for my seed containers.

watering soil

Use Moist Quality Soil

Use a quality seed starter potting mix. Moisten the soil until it’s thoroughly damp, but not soaking wet.

soil filled container cells

Fill Containers

Fill the container to the top with soil. As you go, tap firmly against the table or shelf to make sure the soil settles and to prevent air pockets in the containers.

sweet pea seeds in soil


Label the container with the name of the variety of plants and the date planted.

Seed packets

Make Holes For the Seeds

Read the back of the seed packet for the planting depth. I’ve always followed the rule to plant the seed twice as deep as its longest side if there are no instructions available.

Make a hole for the seed in each container using a pencil, dibbler, or your finger.

soaked sweet pea seeds

Drop Seeds into Holes

Drop 1-2 seeds into each hole.

seed starting mix in containers

Cover Seed Hole with Soil

Add a light dusting of seed starter potting mix, unless otherwise stated in the instructions. For larger seeds, add 1/4 inch of potting soil over the surface, covering the seeds.

drainage tray

Set Container in a Water-Filled Drainage Tray

After sowing the flower seeds, set the container in a drainage tray with an inch of water in the bottom, removing once the soil surface is evenly moist. It’s important not to let the container sit in the water for more than an hour.

seed starting supplies

Place on Heat Mat & Cover

Place the container on a heated mat or in a warm corner in your house, and cover it with a clear plastic dome. This will help quicken the seed starting germination process.

zinnia seeds

Continue Watering

Continue to check the soil moistness after 2-3 days. Bottom water again as needed.

seedlings in greenhouse

Remove From Heat Mat & Uncover Once Germinating

Check the container daily. Once the seeds have germinated and the sprouts are visible, remove the plastic dome lids and remove them from the heated mat. Keep in a light and bright space such as a greenhouse or sunroom. If you don’t have that option, keep the seedlings under a grow light.

sweet pea seedlings

Water as Needed

Check the seedlings on a daily basis to make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out. The very first leaves that appear on the plant are called cotyledons. Be sure to bottom water your seedlings until you see the first real leaves that appear after the cotyledons.

Once those second sets of leaves appear, water with a gentle spray from a watering can or hose when needed, usually every 1-2 days.

marigold seedlings

Add Nutrients

Add a small amount of liquid seaweed and fish emulsion blend to your watering can and drench your plants weekly. Follow the labels for directions.

Transplant if Needed

If your seedlings start to outgrow their containers before they’re ready to be planted outdoors, you’ll need to transplant them into a larger container while still growing inside. It’s important to give the roots more room to grow.

Jax in greenhouse with seedlings

Harden Your Seedlings

After all danger of frost has passed, you can begin “hardening off” your plants before transplanting them into the garden. Don’t skip this process! Your plants will go into shock by the sudden change in temperature.

Set the containers in a sheltered spot outdoors, increasing the amount of time they spend outside each day, over the course of a week or two. I usually start with 2-3 hours the first day.

sweet pea seedling to plant

Transplant to the Garden

After an adequate amount of time to acclimate the plants to the extreme temperatures, transplant the seed starts to the garden.

planting seedlings in the garden

I hope this post gives you more of an “at a glance” step-by-step instruction on how to plant your seeds. For more detailed information, you can read my blog post Seed Starting 101 – Growing a Cut Flower Garden Series. I address more specifics regarding seed starting there.

seedlings planted in raised bed

And you can read any of the other posts in my GROWING A CUT FLOWER GARDEN blog series with this link. I hope this helps!

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!

And I have an added bonus for you! My friend Stacy of Bricks ‘n Blooms shares some simple tips for getting organized before starting seeds indoors. Make sure you check it out on her blog.


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