The Dirt

The 10 Easiest Plants to Grow from Seed

Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

It’s official: beans, peas, and pumpkins are among the top ten easiest plants to grow from seed, according to a list created by the Home Garden Seed Association. Also on the list: cucumbers, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes, and squash.

I can vouch for pumpkins: the past few years they have sprung up where the squirrels scattered the seeds after destroying the fruit. The seedlings required no work from me and gave me a nice little crop. And the way Achillea reseeds itself around my yard, I would add that to the list, too.

Does anyone else have any can’t-miss plants from seed? Let me know before spring gets too far along.

For links to articles, blog posts, and videos on starting vegetable and flower seeds, see All About Starting Seeds.

View Comments


  1. sustainahillbilly 03/02/2010

    I think parsley deserves a mention, since it usually saves you the trouble of planting it by reseeding freely. Turnips and arugula are pretty accommodating, too!

  2. veratrine 03/03/2010

    Corn is easy, but I find that the freshness of the seed matters a lot--I buy a new pack every year. I never worry about the rules about how much you have to plant--I plant 15 seeds and get perhaps 10 plants and sometimes the pollination is a bit haphazard, which means the seeds in the ears will be wobbly, but it still tastes just fine. Cilantro is also a cinch--a cool season crop in California. Basil and tomatoes sometimes reseed themselves in my garden. And nasturtiums are super easy flowers (and yummy salad additions, too!). As far as cost goes, a pack of seeds and a six pack of seedlings will add up much the same, but the varieties available from seeds will be so much more interesting!

  3. JoanWeed 03/03/2010

    Feverfew(in all its varieties) is a valuable fill-in plant and wonderful for bouquets and some say health. It comes up reliably but doesn't take over --like I said fills in.

  4. mariannaF 01/11/2011

    I have always had great success with marigolds and coleus. Not only are they easy to start from seed, but they also do great in the garden, unbothered by pests or disease. Just make sure they get that 1"/week of water & stand out of their way.

  5. Lynneth 02/19/2011

    I worked in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan for a year and brought back some beautiful purple Lupine that has grown very well in Bay County. I, too, have coddled some pumpkins planted by the squirrels (in the oddest places!) but the squirrels eat the new pumpkins before they mature. They've also planted corn for me, those pesky pests. That was from the fall corn decorations. They have a better green thumb than I do. Boy, they sure make me mad!

  6. Lynneth 02/19/2011

    I know this is an odd request, but has anyone had any luck with rutabaga? I've never planted it before, but I sure any hungry for it, warm and juicy yellow, smothered in butter :)

  7. sharri 01/18/2012

    Snow Pea seeds do really well here in Norther Mi. I plant them really early at the same time as rutabaga seeds (which is hard to find here)and cabbage.

  8. priscilla_zone5 01/18/2012

    My "tried + true" veggies: broccoli + red cabbage (start indoors), swiss chard (direct sow). Basil is so easy + if you plant enough you can make your own pesto to freeze... YUM.... + save a bundle of $$$. For easy bedding annuals I always start morning glories, zinnias, celosias under lights, + for containers: check out alternanthera, plectranthus, dichondra + browalia (flowers well with very little sun), all started indoors. Be adventuresome + discover some new favorites!

  9. Hepbec 03/24/2014

    I'm zone 7 and I have a crop of purple, pink, and white larkspur that come up every year from seed. My friend gave me a some seedlings a few years ago and I love them!. They grow about 3 ft tall and make a nice background for my daylilies. When they quit blooming I just cut the stalks and lay them down where they were growing and the next year they pop up in early spring.

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