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20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers

One gardener's favorite selections for the Northeast

Whether you are looking to create a cottage garden or to fill a few gaps in beds and borders, there are many self-sowers to choose from. Here are some of my favorites that I grow in the Northeast. See the related article, Reap the Rewards of Self-Sowers.

1. Atlas poppy (Papaver atlanticum, Zones 5–7)
2. Balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus and cvs., Z 4–9)
3. California poppies (Eschscholzia californica and cvs., annual)
4. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis,  Z 2–8)

Atlas poppy Atlas poppy
Atlas poppy seedling Atlas poppy seedling
Cardinal flower Cardinal flower
Cardinal flower seedling Cardinal flower seedling

5. Chinese anemones (Anemone hupehensis and cvs., Z 5–7)
6. Columbines (Aquilegia spp. and cvs., Z 3–8)
7. Fernleaf corydalis (Corydalis cheilanthifolia, Z 4–9)
8. Flat sea hollies (Eryngium planum and cvs., Z 5–9)
9. Flowering tobaccos (Nicotiana spp. and cvs., annual)

Flat sea holly Flat sea holly
Flat sea holly seedling Flat sea holly seedling
Flowering tobacco Flowering tobacco
Flowering tobacco seedling Flowering tobacco seedling

10. Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea and cvs., Z 4–8)
11. Heath asters (Aster ericoides and cvs., Z 5–8)
12. Hollyhocks (Alcea spp. and cvs., Z 3–9)

Foxglove Foxglove Photo/Illustration: Virginia Small
Foxglove seedlings Foxglove seedlings
Hollyhock Hollyhock Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Hollyhock seedling Hollyhock seedling

13. Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium caeruleum, Z 4–9)
14. Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena and cvs., annual)
15. Mulleins (Verbascum spp. and cvs., Z 3–9)
16. Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium, Z 6–8)

Jacob’s ladder Jacob’s ladder Photo/Illustration: Bill Johnson
Jacob’s ladder seedling Jacob’s ladder seedling
Love-in-a-mist Love-in-a-mist
Love-in-a-mist seedling Love-in-a-mist seedling

17. Snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris, Z 3–9)
18. Snow on the mountain (Euphorbia marginata, annual)
19. Sweet William catchfly (Silene armeria, annual)
20. Toadflaxes (Linaria maroccana and cvs., annual)

Snowdrop anemone Snowdrop anemone
Snowdrop anemone seedling Snowdrop anemone seedling
Sweet William catchfly Sweet William catchfly Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Sweet William catchfly seedling Sweet William catchfly seedling
Photos, except where noted: Jennifer Benner
From Fine Gardening 109 , pp. 55

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