Some Things You Just Don’t Plant From Seed

elderberry bush

Browsing a seed catalog can be so exciting, especially when your patch of dirt is just screaming to be planted in!! It’s easy… incredibly easy… to get carried away and order seeds for every single vegetable you think your family would enjoy.

I’m talking about myself here. ‘Cause this is what I’ve done.

Not only have I ordered every veggie garden staple I could possibly think of… you know… corn, peas, green beans, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, melons, squash, ect, ect… but I’ve also ordered seeds for specialty produce such as globe artichokes, rhubarb, asparagus, and elderberry.

Did I read up on these novelties before clicking the Buy Now button?

Uh, nope.

I figured I’d learn what I needed to about planting them later, after the seeds had arrived.

Brilliant idea. Only, what I learned after the fact was that a lot of the “special” plants I’d ordered are generally NOT grown from seed, but from cuttings or roots instead. Planting from seed is not recommended because:

a) germination rate is extremely low

b) results can vary drastically

c) quality is hard to control


So, it seems, I may not have much luck trying to grow these from seed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna try!! But I may be buying some cuttings or roots to plant as well. Lesson here- do your research before you buy! Including whether or not that plant will even grow well in your area.

Update: My artichokes and asparagus grown from seed did fantastically!! Yay! The rhubarb and elderberries… not so much. I ended up buying some elderberry plants. I keep trying to grow rhubarb from seed, but I’m gonna have to break down and buy a plant eventually. Live and learn.

Strawberries and rosemary are the same way- very hard to get going from seed. Do yourself a favor and just buy the plants.

What about you? Learn any good lessons this week?


7 thoughts on “Some Things You Just Don’t Plant From Seed”

  1. I know a lot about gardening theory (what I’ve studied) and next to nothing about gardening practice (3 years of growing small amounts of vegies & herbs). But I keep trying new, exotic seeds — because I haven’t had great success with crops that are supposed to flourish in my region (some of which do flourish at the properties of relatives nearby) and I’ve had startling success with plants that supposedly won’t be prolific from seed or are considered too tender to grow in my climate! I think gardening must be a lot like parenting; what’s supposed to work might, but what you try out based on common sense & on a tiny burst of inspiration may be exactly what you need to do. Good luck!

  2. The artichokes will be fine…I grow by seed, divisions and transplants…all are easy-peasy! The asparagus, rhubarb and elderberry I’d get cuttings and/or established crowns/starts…ask around you may have neighbors willing to share.

  3. Oh i was guilty of the novelty seed purchases this year as well as buying seeds and not checking the zone. This is our first year gardening so i’m allowed to make mistakes as long as i remember the lesson learned next year lol.

  4. … difficult or no – start seeds for everything – especially if you plan to put it in a greenhouse – production seedlings these days are **scary** with diseases, virus and fungi, that you can let loose on your land in in your greenhouse with one unfortunate purchased start –

    just sayin…

  5. haha, my garden lesson for the week is

    When buying soil/vermiculite/compost for raised beds, make sure your vehicle is large enough to hold what you need!

    Long story short, we relized it wouldn’t all fit BEFORE we paid for enough for both beds, but man that would have been a nightmare if we hadn’t.


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