Planting garden mums in spring

Planting garden mums in spring

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Planting garden mums in spring is an annual tradition in North America. For many people, mums do more than feed your family. They are symbols of good luck, and a harbinger of the spring season. Mums are among the easiest plant to grow from seed. Here are a few of our favourite mums to grow from seed:

Mertensia elegans

A hardy, reseeding perennial and a member of the mustard family, this common garden flower is easily grown from seed. Though it's more common in gardens than plant nurseries, it's no less popular for its fragrant, abundant blooms in a variety of colours. This plant is also a source of medicinal artemisinin, a compound that has proven to be effective in treating malaria.

Fragaria virginiana

Part of the strawberry family, this relative of the strawberry is a wonderful flower to add to any garden. It grows wild in North America and many gardeners enjoy this perennial for its vigorous growth and sunny, shady adaptations.

Melampyrum sylvaticum

A member of the hepatica family, this common perennial flower is widespread in Europe and North America. Though not so well known in the North American garden, this flower has intense red to purple flowers in early spring. It will reseed itself in your garden, so don't be too alarmed by the amount of seedlings you see in your lawn.

Monarda didyma

This perennial member of the mint family, called wild bergamot, has a rich, pine-like aroma. Often called bee balm, monarda is an annual that likes a sunny position. Plants can be raised from seed, but are more effective when they are transplanted. Bees are among the birds that appreciate this flower and the smell of bergamot is often cited as the cause of honey bees' wildness.

Verbena bonariensis

This is a native North American plant, popular in English gardens. Its scent is most characteristic of summer, but the flower is still quite appealing when it's in bloom. It will reseed itself, so don't worry about it spreading too widely in your garden. This plant will be easier to establish when it has grown for several seasons, but is still quite manageable from seed.

Potentilla anserina

A member of the cinquefoil family, this perennial flower is a hardy plant that tolerates most soils. It likes a sunny position in full sun. Its violet flowers bloom in late spring, usually as the weather warms up. This plant has a wide range of uses, from being a medicinal herb to the main ingredient in French violets.

'Old Ladies' Houseplant' begonia. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Green.)


Begonias are annuals that can be hard to grow from seed. However, many people report successful starts from their own seed. Begonias are prized for their diverse colours and attractive flowering habits. There are several popular varieties of begonias, but here are a few of our favourites.

Alstroemeria hybrida

We enjoy the trailing habit of this delicate plant. If you live in an area with cold winters, cut back flowering stems in late fall to encourage new growth. The flowers appear in early spring. This plant's ease of growth make it one of our favourite annuals.


This ornamental plant is also known as the geranium, though this name is also used for several other plants. This is the type of plant that's well known as "old ladies' houseplant" because it's grown in the South in front of and around the home, or under more decorative plants such as azaleas. Pelargoniums are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed, and they reseed themselves.

Verbena bonariensis

A hybrid of yellow verbenas, this annual native to North America has showy flowers in late spring. It can also reseed, and if you want to keep it for next year, sow new seeds now.Some gardeners harvest the seed pods and keep the seeds for growing the next year's plants.

Do you have a favourite mums that reseeds well? Or do you enjoy growing this