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Planting from seeds or bulbs?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by MikeG on October 25, 2005 06:04 AM
What is the difference b/w Planting from seeds and planting from bulbs? Why would one pick one option vs. another? Is this easier vs. harder kind of issue? Also, is the outcome more rewarding (more blooms) with one comapred to the other?

All I know is that bulbs should be planted outside. What else is there to it?
by tkhooper on October 25, 2005 06:19 AM
Need some more information MikeG. If you are talking about the same plant and weather to start from bulb or seed. Starting from seed will take much longer than a bulb. So a bulb would be your best bet.

But of course not all plants produce bulbs. I know this may be a dumb answer but you wouldn't believe what all I don't know so I thought I would throw this in just incase you are like me.

The benefits of seeds are they are small and can be sent through the mail easier and cheaper than bulbs. I consider that a big bonus lol. And for me it's just fun to see if I can. I bet that sounds really silly but it's true for me.

Hope this answered your question. I try to answer but I'm a beginner so sometimes my answers don't make sense lol.

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by MikeG on October 25, 2005 07:21 AM
well, here is the deal. I just moved into this house - my first house ever - knowing nothing about gardening. I want to plant a lot of flowers for the springs. No, I am not talking about the same plants either. I am going to buy a variety of the seeds and/or bulbs. It doesn't matter at this point which plants will produce bulbs. I just want to see a lot of colors around my house next year. I have already bought starter medium, flats, pots and everything else necessary for indoor planting from seeds. So I am going to be experimenting with seeds for sure.

Now, I am also wondering if I should experiment with bulbs as well.
by tkhooper on October 25, 2005 08:06 AM
I think the best way to plan the garden is to start with the environment you have. Where you are going to plant look at the amount of sun it gets and is it morning or afternoon sun, Then see if the ground holds a lot of moisture or is normally dry unless you have just watered. Then do you pH test to see if the soil is alkaline or acidic. Then once you have all that information you need flowers for each condition that you have that bloom at different times. For example: I have a shady dry spot in my garden that is on the acidic side around 6.5. Now I need to find flowers that will bloom in the early spring in those conditions, then late spring, then early summer ect. One thing to remember is that annuals will usually bloom for longer then perennials. But perennials will come back year after year without being replanted. Does that make sense to you?

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by MikeG on October 25, 2005 10:08 PM
Ok, with keeping everything you said above in mind and then doing all the homework as you suggested, what is the difference between planting from seeds vs. planting from bulbs - assuming that both the bulbs and seeds that I choose are appropriate for the environment and the places where they are going to be.
by tkhooper on October 26, 2005 02:58 AM
The seed will take a lot longer to produce a plant. What I have found with some I have looked at it is frequently a year or more to see a sprout from a seed that has to produce a bulb, rysome, or tuber prior to producing the sprout.

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by comfrey on October 26, 2005 09:02 AM
Any bulbs or root type things you plant now will bloom in the spring or next season as tk mention some things grown from seeds may not bloom for 2 years, just depending on what you choose...Things like Zinnia, marigolds or any annual will bloom, but are usually not started until about 6 weeks before your last frost date. I would say sit down with paper and pencil and draw out a bed and then browse online seed places on the web or browse catalogs to get an idea of what you like or what kind of color scheme's you like...Or all one color...Also when planning a flower bed, plant things that will bloom at different times during the growing season so the bed continues to be pleasing to look at.

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by howdager on October 27, 2005 12:02 PM
Comfrey, I wish I had followed that advice a year ago. I had my first garden and I went to town on planting flowers of every sort.
Unfortunatly, I had flowers die back at the same time right next to each other, so I ended up with LARGE bald spots during dormant times. This year I got smart and made a map so some would bloom next to others that were dormant.
Mike - As for bulbs vs. seeds, I guess I'm just a beginner, but my fail rate it so much higher with seeds than bulbs. My only problem with some bulbs are that some require you to dig them up for winter, and being the lazy person I am, I just want to plant something and leave it. Low maintaince is key at this point, due to the size of my yard.
Good luck with you flowering adventure!
by comfrey on October 27, 2005 12:27 PM
Originally posted by howdager:
I just want to plant something and leave it. Low maintaince is key at this point, due to the size of my yard.
I agree 100%...Low maintanince!!!! [thumb]

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by rozy221 on October 29, 2005 10:12 AM
Hi Mike! I could be off on this, but, from my experience, seeds will last way longer than bulbs-think daffs, tulips, glads, dahlias....vs. marigolds, zinnias, impatiens and the TONS of other stuff out there. Variety is a benefit of seed. On the other hand, there are some pretty unusual bulbs out there. My advice is, for long-lasting color, go with seeds; for splashes of accent color, that generally don't last more than 2 weeks, bulbs are a good addition. Also, bulbs such as daffs, crocus, tulips, hyacinth bloom earlier. Hope this info helps-good luck!
by loz on October 29, 2005 11:54 AM
I ususally plant annuals overtop of my deeper planted bulbs...that way in the spring I get the color from the bulbs, and in the summer I get the annuals too....

Bulbs are great because they are fail proof...Anyone can dig a hole, throw one in, and voila....eventually you get flowers without any work(except for dividing them every so often). But as mentioned above, they don't last too long...It's nice though to see the crocuses pushing up through the snow though...A nice splash of early color.

Seeds can be very hard to grow indoors in my opinion unless you have the proper equipment...grow lights/heating mats....Trust me I've tried 2 years in a row and even next to my brightest window they just don't get great light....My best success with seeds is waiting until the last frost and then just planting them in what I call my "transfer" planters...I have these great big windowboxes that I start seeds in outside and when they get big enough I just transplant them into the garden. If you do try seeds make sure you read the requirements for each packet...some require you to nick and soak them...others need sprinkled on top of the soil, etc.....

Chart something out & go for'll get it right eventually--it's all trial and error...My first year of gardening I moved stuff around a lot...realized that it didn't do so well in one spot, or I didn't like it there....Everyone makes mistakes in the beginning, but never be too hard on yourself...the following year you'll know what to do, and what not to do!!!

Best of luck!


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