If the winter is not overly harsh, Calendula, Borage, and Marigolds will also do quite well. Many flowering perennials require an extended period of cold in order to germinate. Campfire Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Columbine, and Yarrow can all be winter-sown. Try Blazing Star or Anise Hyssop for vertical interest.
Seeds of tropical and tender plants will die in the cold. Some good choices for your first efforts at winter sowing include: Flowers: Alyssum, butterfly weed, calendula, coreopsis, cosmos, foxgloves, hollyhocks, petunia. Vegetables: Beets, broccoli, cabbage, chard, carrots, kale, mache, radishes, spinach.
Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, lettuce, onions, herbs, and many annual and perennial flowers can be started indoors during winter. Plant species, as well as the variety, will dictate which month is right. This information can be found on the back of or inside individual seed packets.
Bright reds, soft pinks, sunny yellows –– these colors can still pepper your lawn, even when there's snow. You just need winter flowers that bloom in the cold. Viola, winter jasmine, calendulas, and many plants love cooler temperatures, and they don't hesitate to take advantage of winter's pollinators.
Winter sowing is ideal for some annuals, perennials, and wildflowers. Check out a seed catalogue: most will have some sort of notation about a seed's germination requirements.
In fact, studies have shown that February may be the best month for sowing a cool-season grass, with germination success rates as high as nearly 75% — a significant advantage over December or January rates of around 50%.
Certain crops will tolerate cold temperatures and a few will really thrive in cold weather. Greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and Asian greens will all tolerate cool temperatures.
In Zones 6 and 7, you'll want to sow perennials in December, with annuals and biennials going in the ground or the greenhouses in late February or early March. Zones 8 and 9 don't tend to experience winters that are long or cold enough to make winter sowing count.
Growing Winter Flowers From Seeds
You can sow seeds in winter in two ways: directly sowing the seeds in the ground, or sowing them in a covered container or cold frame. Using a container protects the seeds from elements and animals, and it prevents excess moisture, which may dislodge seeds.
From columbine and foxglove, to lavender and dahlias – there are so many gorgeous varieties that thrive when planted early in the season. Petunias, calendula, snapdragons yarrow sweet peas milkweed dianthus delphinium ajuga bellflower – all these flowers can be sown from seed during this month.
For many garden plants in fact, a soil temperature below 50°F can be a problem. With temperatures in the 40s, seeds will readily absorb water, but not start to grow. This creates an opportunity for disease and rot, which can result in damping-off or poor growth.
Not all flowers are a good candidate for Winter Sowing. Generally, it's best to skip the heat loving plants, like Sunflowers, Zinnias, Celosia, etc. and start those from seed when the weather warms up.
Mixed Seeds cannot be planted in winter except in the Greenhouse and indoors in garden pots, where they become one of the random crops from any season. Mixed Seeds planted on Ginger Island are always the same no matter the season.
Petunias, poppies and sunflowers have been recognised as some of the fastest growing flowers, taking only a fraction of the time to germinate and bloom compared to some of the more challenging plants.
Some seeds like Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Eryngium giganteum need a long period of cold-moist stratification with alternating temperatures. These are the most difficult seeds to germinate.
Chives. Chives are a great herb to grow on your kitchen counter! They come up very quickly—it'll only take 2-3 days for chives to sprout. Additionally, they are quite happy at room temperature, just place it near a sunny window.
Christmas Rose. This evergreen perennial blooms from winter to early spring depending on the selection and where you live (mostly early winter in warmer regions, and as late as February or March where it's very cold).