Container Gardens From Seed (annual Flowers) - Knowledgebase Question

Lagrange, IL
Question by mjrada
January 18, 2000
I would like to start an annual flower container garden this year from seed. I am in Zone 5, the location will mainly be sunny, and wind will not be much of a factor. The limitation I have is that I will not be able to start seeds indoors so the seeds can not be sowed until after the last frost (late April). I do not want to buy live plants.
I am looking for annual suggestions for these containers that have the following characteristics: Fairly quick (15 days or less) germination time and fairly fast time to bloom - I'd like to have plenty of blooms by July 1st!


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Answer from NGA
January 18, 2000

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Most common annuals take about 10 to 12 weeks to bloom, so you will be pushing the envelope with that July first date. You might try sweet alyssum, portulaca, "Profusion" zinnias, sanvitalia, convolvulus (dwarf morning glory), melampodium and California poppy. If you can somehow warm the soil, perhaps by covering it with blasck plastic for several weeks, the seeds will germinate faster. Make sure that the soil is rich, moist yet well drained and also fertilize the plants regularly with a water soluble fertilizer and/or compost tea to ensure vigorous growth. Good luck!

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