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Overwintering Perennial Seeds – The Busy Gardener’s Trick for Spring Flower Planting

Overwintering Perennial Seeds – The Busy Gardener’s Trick for Spring Flower Planting

Did you know that you could plant your perennial flower seeds in the fall?

This process mimics the natural life cycle of a flower. Perennial flower seeds would naturally be dropped in the fall. If a seed finds soil, it plants and settles in for the winter. You can tap into this process in your own garden and give your perennials a head start. Overwintered seed will even start blooming a few weeks earlier than seed started in the spring.

A single red barn house on top of a snowy hill in Maine.

Before you start, be sure your garden has gone dormant in order to prevent your seed does not sprout. Wait until you have had a killing frost, or in warmer climates, after the rainiest season ends. This will also help to ensure the weeds are dormant and give you a little extra time to plant.

If you plant outside, prepare your area as you would for other seeds. Select an area in with the appropriate light for your variety, clear your space of any weeds or other growth, turn the soil, spread seed evenly, and compress by walking on top of the seed.

Alternatively, you can plant in seed flats. Use weed free, clean soil. Tuck your flats up against the house to keep them a bit more protected. Let your planting area get covered with snow, leaves, and more, then wait.

A garden starting to sprout in early Spring snow, in Maine.

In the spring, your seeds will sprout early. No need to water unless they are obviously dry. Keep weeds at bay as you see them appear. Depending on the variety, you can see blooms as early as 5 weeks after sprouting. Enjoy the extra time you now have to dedicate to other spring planting!

A bouquet of peach, purple, and white Foxglove flowers in a green vase.

You can check out THIS POST for flower planting tips (just skip the cardboard cover).

6 comments on Overwintering Perennial Seeds – The Busy Gardener’s Trick for Spring Flower Planting

  • Pinetree Garden Seeds
    Pinetree Garden SeedsNovember 13, 2023

    Hi Jen, yes, Perennial Sea Kale can be overwintered like this. It will be a great way to avoid that extra work and to jump start your Sea Kale’s growth as well. Happy planting!

  • Jen

    I just bought some “Sea Kale” from you guys. Can Perennial Sea Kale seeds be overwintered like this? I actually just stuck a few outside in the garden and in the ground. I was hoping it would create a little less work for me next Spring when it comes to starting the garden again.

  • Pinetree Garden Seeds
    Pinetree Garden SeedsDecember 28, 2021

    Hi Charlotte, unfortunately for the varieties you mentioned, overwintering outdoors isn’t a good option. Those seeds are best stored indoors during the cold months and started again in the spring. Hope this helps!

  • Charlotte johnson
    Charlotte johnsonDecember 28, 2021

    Really a question. Would this work for annuals like Zinnia, nasturtium or Marigold? That would be a great start for my beneficial insect garden inside my veggie garden. Thanks for the info. I will definitely be planting some of the perennial seeds I’ve saved!!

  • Charlene Gough
    Charlene GoughNovember 29, 2018

    This was a very useful blog that I will put to use in the future! Thank you!

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