The easiest flower seeds to sow in autumn.

Virginian Stocks 'Enchanted Evening' Virginian Stocks 'Enchanted Evening' Add some colour to your winter and spring garden without breaking the bank by simply sowing seeds in those bare patches left behind, once the late summer garden has faded. Many flowering annuals are easy to grow from seed, and some even prefer to be sown directly into the garden because they resent their roots being disturbed. The list below is sure to inspire you to do a bit of ‘sowing’ this autumn.

Gardening on a budget can often be the most rewarding, challenging you to spend more time in your garden doing things like growing your own cuttings, propagating perennials to add to other areas of the garden, lifting and saving bulbs, sowing your own vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and learning how to save seeds for next season. Simply exchanging plants with family and friends is so rewarding, and who doesn’t love to take a stroll through the garden when visiting loved ones.  Using what you have and investing in a few little extras here and there will give you great pleasure because you did it all by yourself, with a little help from Mother Nature - of course :)

African or Namaqualand Daisies 

Everyone knows and loves these daisies which come in bright orange and yellow, as well as pastel shades like salmon, cream and pure white. They are frost hardy, love full sun and sandy soils, growing +-35cm tall and 30cm wide. Seeds are sown directly into garden beds in autumn. In the winter rainfall regions seeds are sown in late autumn or early winter (April to May) and if rainfall is good will not require much watering. In the rest of the country they are best sown when the daytime temperatures are between 18 to 22°C.

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Alyssum, Honey Flower

Alyssum loves full sun in winter, growing well in coastal gardens with sandy soils, and inland where it is hardy to frost. It's lovely scented flowers come in beautiful shades of pink, rose, purple, mauve, white and yellow, and plants grow quickly to +-15cm tall and 20 to 25cm wide. Seed can be sown directly into well-prepared garden beds from spring to late summer, and autumn, when temperatures are between 20 and 26°C, germinating in about 3 days and taking up to 9 weeks to flower.

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English Daisy, Bellis

Bellis are grown throughout SA and in winter and spring they produce masses of tightly quilled, single, or double flowers in shades of pink, white and rosy red, with cheerful yellow centres They grow easily from seed sown directly into well prepared beds, when the soil temperatures are between 15 to 25°C, and will grow +-15 to 20cm tall and wide. In moist soils they love to grow in full sun, but they will take some shade. Bellis loves moisture and thrives in the winter rainfall regions, but inland will require regular irrigation.

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Bokbaai Vygies

Bokbaai vygies are one of our most famous wildflower exports, and are grown worldwide for their multitude of silky-textured flowers in a dazzling range of colours like yellow, cream, pink, lavender, magenta, and orange. This annual succulent forms a low groundcover +-10cm tall and 30cm wide, and requires full sun. It tolerates light frost, and thrives in poor, sandy soil but adapts to most soils with good drainage. Seeds are sown directly into prepared garden beds in autumn when the temperatures are between 18 and 20°C.

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Calendulas

Calendulas are grown throughout SA to bloom in winter and spring. They are very easy to germinate and simple to care for, producing large flowers that last long in a vase. The clear, bright colours range from orange to apricot-orange and golden to lemon-yellow. Both dwarf and tall strains are available, but the dwarf varieties are the most freely available. Calendulas take full sun or light shade and are hardy to all but severe frost. They tolerate most soils with good drainage, and seeds are sown directly into garden beds in autumn when the daytime temperatures are between 20 to 22°C.

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Baby Snapdragons, Linaria

This quick-blooming annual is very easy to grow, and seeds are sown directly into garden beds in full sun quickly produce charming, two-lipped, miniature snapdragon-like flowers in a rainbow mixture of red, pink, yellow, purple, blue and white. They grow well throughout SA, and can be sown during spring and early summer, or late summer and autumn in frost-free regions. The varieties vary slightly in height from 20 to 45 cm tall with a spread of 20 to 30cm. They grow best in light, sandy, well-drained soil, but will adapt to most well-drained soils.

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Cornflowers

Cornflowers are very easy to sow directly into garden beds and are available in the traditional blue, and a whole range of colours like red, pink, lilac, and white. New strains vary in height from 40 to 90cm, with a width of about 25cm. They grow well throughout SA except for very humid regions, growing in full sun or light shade and adapting to most soils that drain well. Generally they are sown from early to mid-spring for early summer blooms, but the seedlings are hardy to frost and in climates with moderate winters they can also be sown in autumn for a really early summer show.

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Larkspurs

Delphinium and Larkspur are very closely related, and also look very similar. However, Larkspurs are far less fussy than delphiniums, and grow very easily from seed sown directly into garden beds in autumn. Their sky-blue to navy-blue blossoms are sought-after cut flowers, and other flower colours include shades of purple, pink, red and white. Larkspurs adapt to most fertile, well-drained soils, and are very hardy to frost. The varieties grow from 30 to 90cm tall, growing happily in full sun or a little shade. Chill the seeds for two weeks in the refrigerator before planting.

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Godetias

Godetias flower in late spring and early to mid-summer, depending on when they are sown. They are excellent cut-flowers, producing cup-shaped blooms in shades of rose to pink and peach, lavender and white. They vary in height from 30 to 90cm, love full sun, and are hardy to frost. They not suited to hot, humid regions. It is essential that the soil drains very well and is not too fertile. Seeds are best sown directly into garden beds in spring or autumn when the soil temperatures are between 16 and 18°C.

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Sweet Peas

 Sweet Peas come in dwarf and climbing varieties and in colours ranging from almost black to the softest pink, blue, lilac, purple, red, white and all the shades in-between. They are hardy to moderate frost, grow well throughout SA, except extremely cold regions where late flowering varieties are sown in early spring to flower in early summer. They love rich soil, regular feeding and full sun. Seed is sown directly when daytime temperatures are between 13 and 20°C, germinating within two weeks, and blooming within 16 to 20 weeks.

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Snapdragons

Snapdragons can be sown almost throughout the year in SA, and are easy to grow from seed sown directly into well-prepared beds that drain well. They love full sun, are hardy to frost, and take 4 to 7 days to germinate in soil temperatures between 18 and 24°C, in autumn or spring,  flowering within 14 weeks. Snapdragons vary in height from 15cm to 1m tall, and the flowers last well in a vase and are available in nearly every flower colour, or bicolour, including red, bronze, yellow, orange, pink, purple, cream and white.

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 Virginian Stocks

 Virginian stocks are one of the easiest of all plants to grow, and the heavenly scented flowers come in shades of pink, rose red, lilac and creamy-white. They grow throughout SA, are frost hardy and do well in coastal gardens in enriched sandy soil, thriving in part shade to full sun, and quickly producing small bushes 20 to 30cm tall and 10 to 15cm wide. Seeds are sown directly into beds in autumn, as soon as the weather has cooled down significantly, and will take approximately eleven weeks to flower.

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growing bedding plants in sa covergrowing bedding plants in sa coverIf you love growing your own flowers, I am sure you will find my e-book "Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa". It is written especially for South African gardeners, and no matter whether you wish to purchase trays of seedling, or sow you own seeds, it will be invaluable to all gardeners who love to have colour in the garden throughout the year. All 78 pages are packed with useful growing information and beautiful photographs of each flower. It also includes the best planting and sowing times for each variety, as well as ideal germination temperatures and days to flowering.

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