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My Favorite Self-Sowing Plants

by | Sep 10, 2019

White Lace Flower and Bachelor Buttons are always a bright spot in our spring gardens. Also a favorite of pollinators and other beneficial insects. (And golden retrievers!)

Who are these flowers? The cool-season hardy annuals that light spring on fire and are some of my favorites. I’m talking about some of the better known flowers like bachelor buttons, poppies, and larkspur along with some unknowns like bupleurum and the famous but what seems unattainable bells of Ireland.

What is a self sower? Plants that flower, make seed, and drop that seed in the garden that goes onto sprout right in the garden.

In a home garden, I would plant this group of seeds directly in the garden in the same area. I deem this the self-appointed garden. This group will replant themselves for years to come if they are happy with the spot I’ve chosen and I tend to their few needs.

Larkspur has been a favorite for decades as a cut flowers pictured, but also gorgeous in the landscape.

You can explore my list below and pick out your favorites and start your own self-appointed garden. You can view all of our cool-season hardy annual seeds here including those we start indoors and plant transplants in the garden.

My favorites:

This list above are those seeds I plant straight in the garden in my zone 7 garden in fall with great success. They have a strong reseeding habit.


My reseeding tips:

  • Go light on mulch. The seeds the flowers make and drop need to make contact with some soil to produce a seedling next season.
  • After the initial planting don’t work the soil much in this area. This may cover the seeds dropped by the flowers with to much soil to allow sprouting.
  • The first year of planting seeds, plant in rows and mark with name tags. Take photos of what seedlings look like as they sprout to use for identifying next year when scouting for reseeded seedlings.
  • Stay on top of weeding this area or you’ll lose your flower seedlings in the weeds.
  • Thin seedlings in very early spring.

If you want to learn more about cool-season hardy annuals and when and how you should plant them read my book Cool Flowers. It also includes how to prevent weeds and to harvest as cut flowers.

Happy fall!

Lisa Z

Lisa Mason Ziegler is the founder of  The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online and the award-winning author of Vegetables Love Flowers, Cool Flowers, and The Easy Cut-Flower Garden  Connect with Lisa on Facebook  and Instagram!