When to start seeds indoors is a common question when growing new plants. Getting the right starting condition is necessary for healthy growth. Planting off-season may make your efforts go in vain.When To Start Seeds Indoors

This article details everything you need to know about planting new seeds at the right time and some common mistakes to avoid.

What Is the Right Time to Plant New Seeds Indoors?

The right time to plant new seeds indoors depends on the type of plant. While most seeds should be planted in spring, there are several that prefer cooler weather and should be planted in autumn or even in the middle or end of winter.

Growing your own seedlings has several advantages:

  • It costs less than purchasing nursery seedlings.
  • Most nurseries have a larger assortment of seeds than seedling varieties.
  • It provides some horticultural therapy during winter when the ground is covered with snow.

Growing seedlings from seed gives you greater flexibility and control over your garden. You can cultivate your preferred types and the number of plants you require and work within the appropriate planting dates for your growing area.

Planning is essential for any successful garden. The first step is determining what you want to grow and creating a seed list. Then, to estimate how many transplants you’ll need to grow, map out your vegetable garden beds.

Creating a vegetable seed-starting timetable will guide you on when to start your seeds. You can learn more about each phase by reading the following context after the planning is done.

– Starting Seeds Indoors With Grow Lights

You’ll need extra illumination to produce healthy seedlings. Every day, seedlings require at least 12-16 hours of sunshine. The best way is to configure lights to turn on for 16 hours and then off for 8 hours. Maintain a 2-inch distance between the lights and the seedlings. As the plants grow, make adjustments.

To begin your seedling, gather these containers; Peat pots, seed-starting flats, toilet paper rolls, newspaper pots, or any repurposed container with a few drain holes in the bottom can be used.

You can avoid using growth pots entirely by compressing the soil into a cube with a soil block maker. Whatever container you pick, thoroughly rinse it with warm soapy water. To prevent water from dripping, place them in leak proof trays or containers.

– Make Your Seed-Starting Soil

Use a fresh mix designed for developing seedlings. Using garden soil or reusing potting soil from houseplants can spread disease to your young and delicate seedlings. Start with a fresh, sterile seed starting mix to promote healthy seedlings. Before filling your containers:

  • Wet the seed starting mix.
  • Mix warm water into the seed starting earth in a clean bucket or basin. The soil mix should be somewhat damp but not soaked.
  • Fill your containers within 1/2-inch of the top with a pre-moistened seed starting mix.
  • Gently press to remove any air pockets.

– Sow Your Seeds

Follow the guidelines on the seed packets to know how deep to plant your seeds. Make two or three holes in the soil in the center of your containers and sprinkle with seeds. Cover the seeds with dirt, gently press down so the seed contacts the soil, then sprinkle the soil with water.Sow Seeds Indoor

Label the container correctly with the seed variety and the date of sowing. To keep moisture in, cover the containers with a humidity dome. You could even pre-sprout your seeds and see them sprout before putting them in your containers.

To germinate, most seeds require temperatures ranging from 66°F to 74°F (19°C to 23°C). Place the trays near a heat source, on top of a refrigerator, or a seedling heat mat. Check your seed trays for germination daily, sprinkle the soil top with water if it has dried out, and wait for the seeds to emerge.

Remove the humidity dome and put the trays under the lights after the seeds sprout. Keep the lamps within 2 inches of the seedlings’ tops. Keep the soil moist but not soggy by misting or using a turkey baster to water the young plants as needed.

The idea is to maintain the soil moisture without becoming waterlogged. Mold will grow if there is too much water, especially in the case of zinnia and petunia.

Water the plants from underneath as the seedlings grow and their roots begin to grow into the soil by adding water to the leak proof tray or placing the pots in a water tray so the roots can draw in moisture. If the soil becomes soggy, the seedlings will drown. Allow the soil to dry out a little between watering once the seedlings have been established.

– Fertilize the Plants Once Real Leaves Sprout

Most seed-starting mixtures lack nutrients. When seeds first sprout, they can obtain nutrients from the seed’s endosperm. When the second set of leaves appears, also known as the plant’s “true leaves,” it is time to start fertilizing your seedlings.

Begin by applying a half-strength organic liquid fertilizer, such as liquid fish fertilizer or worm-casting tea. Each brand is unique; for optimum results, follow the recommendations on the label.

– Thin the Seedlings So That Only the Strongest Survive

Each container should have no more than one seedling to develop strong and healthy like you would do for a pansy. Thinning entails choosing the strongest plant and removing the weaker ones.

The simplest and least disruptive way is to cut the undesired seedlings at the soil line. You could also transplant the extras into separate pots, damaging the roots and impeding development.

– Pot the Seedlings Into Larger Containers

Some seedlings will outgrow their pots before being transplanted outside. These plants will need larger containers to continue growing at a healthy rate. It is necessary to transplant into larger containers whenever the roots have filled the container or you notice that you need to water the plants continuously.

– Adapt Your Seedlings To Outdoor Conditions

Begin hardening off your seedlings to outdoor conditions for several weeks before transplanting them to the garden. Hardening off is acclimating plants to the outdoor environment, allowing them to become accustomed to sunlight, wind, rain, cool nights, and less frequent watering and feeding.

– Plant Your Seedlings In The Garden

After hardening off, they are ready to be moved into their permanent location. Prepare your garden beds in advance. Plants like marigolds, nasturtium, and cosmos need this prepared beforehand. If the weather is dry, thoroughly water the bed the day before planting.Planting Seedlings In The Garden

Choose a cloudy day with no high wind and transplant in the late afternoon hours and evening to allow your plants to acclimate without the added stress of the sun. After planting, thoroughly water the seedlings.

Mistakes To Avoid When Planting Indoor Seeds

Avoiding some of the most frequent seed-starting blunders gardeners make when growing their plants is one of the best ways to ensure success when beginning your vegetable or annual flower plants inside from seed.

But here’s the good news: growing plants from seed indoors doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, by simply adhering to a few tried and proven practices, it may be fairly simple. And far more fulfilling than you could have imagined!

– Seedlings on a Windowsill

The most common mistake gardeners make when trying to sow vegetable or flower seeds indoors is relying on a sunny windowsill to supply the necessary light for their plants. Raising seedlings on a windowsill is a prescription for catastrophe.Seedlings on a Windowsill

The little seedlings will undoubtedly grow swiftly in the sunlight. However, they grow too slowly to mature into power plants. The sunlight streaming through a window is too far away. Worse, its winter arc does not allow enough sunlight to pass through for an extended period.

– Planting Seeds at the Incorrect Time

Another typical error in growing plants is made on the started indoors seeds at different times. If you sow seeds too early, your plants will grow enormous and overgrown before it is appropriate to transplant them outside. So start indoors at the right time.

If you are wondering when to start planting seeds outdoors, know that starting too late may make them need to mature sufficiently to be transplanted outdoors when the time comes. As a result, plants may die or not have enough time to produce.

– Use of Old Seeds

Not only can old seeds germinate at a lower rate, but they may also have less power and vitality as they expand. Seeds incorrectly stored (excessive heat, humidity, etc.) will also be less likely to sprout. And even if they do germinate, they will be weak and unproductive.

Generally, never preserve or save seeds for more than one growing season. Keep seeds from plants in a cool, dry place when storing them. One of the greatest options is a chilly, dark basement.

– Planting Seeds in the Wrong Soil

Great plants begin with excellent soil. And if you plant your sowing seeds in regular topsoil or garden soil, your plants will struggle to produce robust roots and shoots. Seeds require lightweight, nutrient-rich soil that drains effectively to germinate and grow properly.Planting Seeds in Wrong Soil

The first six to eight weeks of a seedling’s existence are critical to survival. Plants can swiftly absorb the energy and nutrition required to grow healthy by providing lightweight, nutrient-rich soil.

– Watering Seeds and Seedlings Too Much or Too Little

Seeds require moisture to sprout. And as seedlings grow, they will undoubtedly require it to mature and develop into powerful plants. However, receiving too much or too little of it can hurt or even kill plants before they grow.

Spritz or mist your soil lightly before planting seeds to keep it moist but not wet. Next, tie a piece of plastic wrap around the top of the seed trays, or use the plastic dome that came with them. This will keep moisture in and allow the seeds to germinate.


Planting new seedlings indoors is tricky unless you have planned what needs to be done. Just keep the following in mind:

  • Knowing the frost time in your area will determine the right time to plant new seedlings.
  • Baby seeds need mild conditions to grow. This includes the need for light, soil, and watering.
  • Once your baby shoots appear, transplant them with care outdoors.

With this guide, you now have novice skills to try and plant any seeds you like.

5/5 - (19 votes)
Evergreen Seeds