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Growing Hardy annuals; bigger, better and dare I say. more beautiful!

When gardeners ask when the best time to grow cut flowers from seed, they expect to be told that it’s during the Spring as that is when many gardeners begin to think about sowing seeds for flowers. However, the best time is actually the Autumn as that is the perfect time to start growing hardy annuals, the hardest workers in your cutting patch!

Hardy annuals are those plants that can tolerate the winter temperatures here in the UK but typically finish their life cycle from seed to flower to seed again in one year. Many of them can tolerate a heavy frost and some will even survive temperatures down to -10 meaning they are also brilliant if you want to direct sow your seeds in the early Autumn. Unlike half-hardy annuals, they are often native plants and are used to real seasons. Once you see these plants drop their seeds in the late summer, you know it’s time to think about sowing! Hardy annuals can also be sown in the Spring so even if you loose a few seedlings in the winter, you can sow again in the early spring and not miss the flowering season.

There are many hardy annuals to choose from, but favourites include cornflowers, orlaya, larkspur, calendula and gypsophilia. Some will be planted outside to grow strong roots over the winter, whilst others need a little support and can be overwintered in a greenhouse or polytunnel. The same for all however, is that they will be stronger, taller and flower earlier that any annuals sown in spring. As soon as the spring sunshine warms the soil, they will start to grow rapidly producing large, strong stems and flowers which are perfect for cutting for a vase. They are also very valuable for early pollinators in the garden.

Buying your hardy annual seeds in the summer will ensure you have enough time to get ready so now really is the time to start planning your cutting patch for next year!

If you’d like to join a group of cut flower growers this August growing hardy annuals, come and join the online Sows and Grows group. The lovely thing about the group is that you never feel alone in the greenhouse again and you can ask questions when things don’t go to plan!

Sows and grows now has a collection of hardy annual seeds to buy!

Click below to find out more:

Happy sowing and growing!

Sophie & Helier

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