Easy Plants to Grow from Seeds Sown Directly Outdoors

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner



There are many wonderful reasons to grow your flowers and food from seeds. You’ll save money, because seeds are less expensive and you get so many in a package. You’ll have a better selection, because more unusual varieties are available from seeds than transplants. Plus, if you pick the right flowers and vegetables, you can sow the seeds directly in the garden. There is no reason to start them indoors.

Here are some of my favorite plants to grow directly from seeds sown in the garden.

Six Flowers to Consider:

  • Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita):It’s easy to fall in love with this charming flower, which smells a bit like apples and is renowned for its taste and calming qualities. I planted chamomile to make aromatic teas one spring, and the annual has self-seeded itself each year in a pretty manner. It’s a nice treat in my garden, but make certain that chamomile won’t be a nuisance plant in your region.




  • Cleome: This cottage garden plant – also known as spider flowers – often self-seeds itself, year after year, and blooms in shades of white, pink and purple. The easy-to-grow seeds don’t even need to be covered much to germinate.
  • Cosmos spp.: With ferny foliage and daisy-like flowers, cosmos is very easy to grow even in hot, dry conditions. From orange and yellow to hot pink, these cheerful flowers come in a variety of colors to suit your style.
  • Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa): I like to grow these late-season bloomers near my kitchen door. In the late afternoon, they release a lovely aroma to the garden, which I can smell as I cook dinner. For best results, sow these fast-growing flowers after the last frost date.
  • Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus): Always plant nasturtium seeds in ordinary garden soil, and avoid giving them much nitrogen. Otherwise, you’ll get more leaves than flowers on your plants. Nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible, and they hold a peppery flavor. We love to toss them on top of pizzas and salads.
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus): This popular flower grows best from seeds sown directly in the soil after the last frost date, so don’t try to transplant them. These days, sunflowers come in all different colors and sizes, from dwarfs to giants with yellow, orange, red or brown petals.




Five Vegetables to Consider:

  • Beans: Whether it’s a pole variety that grows 6 to 8 feet high, such as the ones shown above, or a bush type that thrives in small spaces, beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. Always wait until after the last frost date to plant this cold-sensitive plant.




  • Carrots: Sow these tiny seeds directly into the soil, because this cool-season vegetable has a long tap root that makes it difficult to transplant. Carrots thrive in light, well-drained soil, so the roots can penetrate the soil well.
  • Lettuces: We grow lots of lettuces and salad greens in early-spring. Sometimes we’ll plant seeds in neat little rows, and thin them as they grow, throwing the tiny lettuces into salads. Other times, we’ll scatter seeds in bunches, such as the ones shown above. Either way you grow lettuces, they are usually cut-and-come-again vegetables. That means you can cut them back to the earth, and they will typically come again two or three times.




  • Peas: We typically plant peas around St. Patrick’s Day in mid-March, and we have yummy peas to enjoy by late-May. This cool-season veggie tends to wilt if the temperatures get too hot.
  • Squash: From summer squashes like zucchini to winter types such as acorn squash, it’s best to sow these seeds straight in the soil. If you have to transplant them, be careful not to disturb their roots. Whether you’re growing summer or winter squashes, wait until the last frost date and the soil temperature is well above 60 degrees.