The spontaneous charm of self-seeding annuals has a place in every Midwestern garden. A seed packet, purchased once and direct sown, multiplies over the years as seeds falling to the ground sprout the next spring. Transported by wind, rain, or animals, seeds settle into unexpected places, growing into plants that light up and soften troublesome spots such as paving cracks and edges of retaining walls. Fascinating plant combinations occur when their colorful flowers appear in novel locations, and seeds saved from last fall provide a quick fix for places where perennials have died over winter or bulb foliage is dying down. Rake seeds shallowly into prepared soil in early spring, and thin seedlings as colonies become denser over the years. Don’t baby them—these self-seeders thrive in your hottest, sunniest locations—just appreciate their surprises and versatility for years to come. The following are a few of my favorite serendipitous self-sowers.
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