What Plants Grow the Fastest From Seeds?
For many gardeners, waiting for seeds to germinate and plants to grow is part of the hobby’s reward. For others, however, it can be maddening, especially if you are gardening with children. Distract impatient growers with fast-growing plants while they wait for the rest of the garden to catch up.
Many flowering plants sprout and grow rapidly, and they provide the added benefit of splashes of color for your yard. Sweet alyssum, celosia, cornflower or bachelor button, marigold and cosmos sprout within five to seven days. Zinnias, sunflowers and morning glories bring even more color and quick growth, while fast-growing nasturtiums multitask as garden beauties that you can add to salads or as dinner-plate garnishes.
Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis) will add to your garden year after year, while black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) are biennial or perennial plants, depending on the varieties you select. These flowery plants will germinate in five to 10 days and grow quickly after sprouting. Other perennial choices include blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis), blanket flower (Gaillardia x gradiflora), rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) and gaura (Gaura lindheimeri). All of these perennials are hardy in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, while many thrive through zone 10.
Not only do many herbs germinate and grow quickly, they add fragrance to the garden and flavor to your menu. Consider basil, which sprouts in about four days, or chives, cilantro and dill, which make their appearance seven to 14 days after planting. Mint grows quickly, as well, but you’ll probably want to plant it in containers to keep it from invading other areas. Garden cress adds a sharp aroma and a peppery taste to dishes.
Several vegetables grow very quickly, including most types of lettuce and radishes. Cucumbers germinate within seven to 10 days, as well, and mustard greens, spinach, scallions and turnips hold their own in the race. Blue Lake and Pencil Wax bean varieties are especially suitable for quick gardening, and cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon, with their four- to six-day germination period make excellent garden additions.
Noted in Thomas Jefferson’s garden journal as early as 1812, hyacinth bean vines can grow 6 to 20 inches in a single season, twining through the garden, their maroon seedpods and purple flowers bringing tropical drama to the landscape. Grasses, especially wheat grass and rye, also grow quickly. Add a little fun by growing grass in a hollowed potato decorated with craft wiggle eyes, so that it seems to grow green hair.
- KidsGardening: Fast-Germinating Seeds
- Fine Gardening: Five Fast-Growing Perennials That Flower Their First Year From Seed
- Los Angeles Times: Plant Radish Seeds and Watch Them Grow Fast
- Urban Farmer Seeds: Quick Growing Vegetables — Urban Farmer’s Guide
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Starting Seeds Indoors
- National Gardening Association: How to Grow Herbs From Seed
- Mother Earth News: 12 Best Kitchen Herbs
Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.
What Plants Grow the Fastest From Seeds?. For many gardeners, waiting for seeds to germinate and plants to grow is part of the hobby’s reward. For others, however, it can be maddening, especially if you are gardening with children. Distract impatient growers with fast-growing plants while they wait for the rest of …
Seeds That Sprout Fast: Beat Cabin Fever With Fast Growing Seeds
A difficult period of being forced to stay home calls for spending as much time gardening as possible. Do all the work in the garden you can, and then start growing. Fast growing seeds are perfect right now. You’ll get quick results and be ready to put transplants in the ground soon.
Starting Seeds Indoors
If you’re new to starting plants from seeds, or new to doing it inside first, a few simple steps will get you started. All you need is a seed tray and soil. If you don’t have one, a seed tray can be as simple as an old egg carton. Use a good quality potting or starting soil, and make sure you put drainage holes in your tray before planting.
Follow seed packet instructions for seed depth in the soil as well as spacing. Set the tray another tray or dish that will collect draining water and put it somewhere warm. Seeds need temperatures between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 Celsius) for the best results. Once they sprout, put the seedlings in a sunny spot or under a grow light and begin to thin as necessary.
Seeds That Germinate Quickly
Seeds that sprout fast are perfect for right now, when we could all benefit from seeing green and growth. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Lettuce – Try any variety. These will sprout quickly, and you can either use them right away as microgreens, grow baby lettuces, or transplant them outdoors to grow full heads and leaves.
- Turnips and radishes – As with lettuce, you can use the microgreens in the kitchen, or keep growing to get the roots later.
- Beans – Green beans of all varieties sprout and grow quickly.
- Cucurbits – Many of the plants in the cucurbit family germinate and sprout very quickly. These include cucumbers, squashes, and melons.
- Chives – These quick growing onions are tasty and fragrant.
- Annual flowers – Instead of buying transplants at the garden center this year, start some annuals from seeds. Fast-sprouting varieties include alyssum, bachelor’s button, cosmos, and marigold.
To speed the sprouting process even more, you can help seeds germinate faster. A light scratching of the seed, called scarification, speeds germination. Use piece of sandpaper to do this and then wrap the seeds in damp paper towel. Place them in a dark, warm spot. Check regularly because you’ll have sprouts soon.
A difficult period of being forced to stay home calls for spending as much time gardening as possible. Fast growing seeds are perfect. Learn more here.