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Help with when to start seeds for Willamette Valley area

Wilsonville, OR(Zone 8b)

I am looking at my flower seeds and just wanting your input on the best time for starting seeds indoors, and or if they are not suitable for starting indoors, for these plats:

Malva Sylvestris
Love-in-a-mist (should this be direct seeded only?)
Four O'clocks
Morning Glory

And also: Suggestions for other nice blooming plants, perennial or annual, and when to start them.



Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

I would suggest that you go to and get the date for the end of the frost in your area.

As to the specifics for how to start each plant, either get yourself a copy of the Terristrial Seed Co catalog, which will point you to the generalities, query each on google with germination as a keyword. The Seed Germinaton Forum here has a spreadsheet that is stickied to the top of the forum and you could try looking there, but it is by Genus species.


Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I ignore the frost date things with flowers: both perennials and annuals. After all, when you buy those nice big coneflowers in the nursery in 3 and 1/2 inch pots, they certainly were not started "6-8 weeks before last frost date". I follow the rules, however, for vegetables, tomatoes. The sooner you start the perennials, especially, the better chance that they will bloom for you the first summer. I always start my seeds in seedling mix. Once 3-4 true leaves form, I move them into 3 and 1/2 inch square pots with potting soil. As long as you keep them indoors with good light and water, you can use your house as a green house.

Of your above list, I direct sow Zinnias and morning glory and sunflowers in June.

Poppies are a whole different category---depends on type. Some can be started indoors. Others would do better direct seeded outside now, when the weather is cold, actually.

Love in a mist I've never grown.

Start marigolds indoors in April.

The remainder of your list can/should be started now, provided you don't put them outside until after the frost date and you transplant them into potting soil when they develop those leaves so that they can continue to grow.

Included is a pic of my set up. I also use heat mats until they sprout, when I then move them under lights. I am getting a second cart, b/c I am out of space and only 10% finished.

I tend to prefer to start things indoors---you get results. When you sprinkle outside---sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (except for those I listed above---those always work)

Thumbnail by kosk0025
Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Essential planet---you live near me---I'm starting gazillions of things by seed. So far, successful on almost everything, some weird/unusual; some common. I'd be happy to give a bunch to you or trade if you are down in the Salem area. Should be ready to give away in April/May. I've kind of gone a little crazy. It's so hard when a seed packet comes with 200 seeds, to just start the 5 or so that you will use. At a minimum, I'm starting 10 of everything. Some as many as 50. Just can't help myself.

Wilsonville, OR(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the tips! I do know the frost dates for my area, and I have Territorial's catalog. I am very at ease with starting my veggies from seed, and I know when to do so. Flowers is where I am not as knowledgeable... and Territorial does not list instructions for all the flowers like the do for the veggies.

Kosk -- Thanks for the tips, that's exactly what I was looking for. I have heat mats and lights, so I am ready to go.

Sitting down and getting ready for some planting right now!

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

So glad to be of help. Let me know what things grow particularly well for you from seed. i.e., lots of Nigella blooms, etc? For tips for me on what different varieties to try next year. I, too, order quite a few of my seeds from Territorial. However, I have ventured out to ordering from 3 or 4 other seed catalogs this year, b/c I find that Territorial doesn't offer enough flowers.....which are my faves, of course. But I order 95% of my veggie/fruit seeds from Territorial, b/c of course they have all been tested on our climate. My favorite seed from them last year----Sangria Watermelon. I was amazed at the sweet watermelons I grew here, (better than ANYTHING I purchased---AMAZINGLY SWEET), even despite our frigidly cold summer last year. I used their green mulch, and my kids and I feasted on melons for 3 weeks in September, and even had to give some away. I'm planting more watermelons this year. We were lucky to have a warm September, b/c it saved my melons.

Seattle, WA

I also order my veggie seeds from Territorial, and I've been ordering flower seeds from Select Seeds and Heirloom Seeds. What other sites/catalogs do you like?

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

My other 4 faves: Baker Creek (wow a lot of unusual things in there), Johnny's Select Seeds (isn't that an amazing catalog??? Anyone want some porto spineless cardoon---got that among others from Johnny's ---has ornamental flowers---those things get HUGE once established and I already have 7 in my yard---started the rest of the seed packet, so have 20 or so more of them growing strong indoors right now and I don't need that many), and Seed Saver's Exchange. I LOVE Seed Saver's Exchange seed packets!!! They have great photos on the front of them and they are plastic, ziplock style. I guess the plastic is more environmentally friendly than paper the packages say. And it makes so much sense!!! It allows for these beautifully vibrant pics of the plant, and I love that if the seed packet gets wet, my seeds aren't at risk. I guess that is one thing that bugs me slightly about territorial---the generic pics on the front of the seed packets, and those generic instructions for all of the flowers. Baker, Johnny's, and Seed Savers give so much more detail on starting their flowers. And then my real favorite little gem place: seed company from Eugene---all kinds of weird stuff. EVERYTHING I have started from them has had nearly 100% germination rates, so very high quality seed. And they send you an entire sheet of paper for each seed with details on how to start it. I'M SO EXCITED about my Billy Buttons I ordered from them. I am hoping and praying that they produce these amazing fuzzy yellow tennis ball looking flowers for me---I'm in love with them. I have 7 seedlings going (7 out of 10 germinated). 2 inches so far. OKAY, I'm totally rambling here. Whatcom: when you order a sampler packet---it truly is a sampler. Most of them come with about 10 seeds, so they are very precious.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

The seeds I'm equally excited about are Lisianthus that I got from Johnny's (ordered 3 colors), Ptilotus "Joey" from Whatcom, and Kiss me over the garden gate from Johnny's. I have lots more that I'm also starting. But these and the Billy Buttons keep me awake at night, lol. flowers, flowers, flowers, obsessed

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

These are Billy Buttons----to me, these look like the most amazing, spectacular things ever created on this entire planet. I really want them in my cutting garden.

Thumbnail by kosk0025
Seattle, WA

Oh oh... hadn't heard about Whatcom seeds, and have now spent about two hours on their website. I could get into serious trouble there! And I agree, the Billy Buttons are awesome, can't wait to hear how they turn out this season.

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