If you’d like to grow your own flowers from seed, this basic calendar can help. Below is a list of common flowers that grow well in Maine with dates for sowing seeds indoors and transplanting out seedlings, as well as direct seeding, informed by what is recommended for each flower type. The dates are approximate, based on USDA Hardiness Zone 5 (planthardiness.ars.usda.gov), and may need to be adjusted for your growing season. To learn more about the specifics of each flower (e.g., height, trellising requirements, etc.), seed company websites and/or catalogs can be great resources.
Whether for cut flowers, a touch of beauty or pollinator habitat, the following flowers would make a welcome addition to your garden. If you’re interested in drying flowers for ornamental use, consider planting: ageratum, celosia, craspedia, dusty miller, feverfew, gomphrena, lavender, nigella (pods), poppy (pods), statice, strawflower, sunflower, sweet Annie or yarrow. If you’re looking for flowers for natural dyeing, marigold, sunflower, yarrow and zinnia can work well in the dye pot.
|March 1||Start indoors: black-eyed Susan*, dusty miller, Icelandic poppy, lavender*, yarrow*, sweet pea (3/1 to 3/15), stock|
|March 15||Start indoors: ageratum, aster*, bachelor’s button, bee balm*, campanula+, celosia, columbine*, craspedia*, echinacea*, foxglove+, gomphrena (3/15 to 4/1), hollyhock+, larkspur, lupine*, nicotiana, sweet William+, viola|
|April 1||Start indoors: feverfew*, phlox*, scabiosa*, snapdragon, statice, strawflower, tithonia Direct sow: sweet pea|
|April 15||Start indoors: alyssum, amaranth, borage, broom corn, calendula (4/15 to 5/15), cosmos, Chinese forget-me-nots, hyacinth bean, marigold, nasturtium, sunflower, sweet Annie, zinnia (4/15 to 5/15) Transplant out: sweet pea, Icelandic poppy|
|May 1||Transplant out: echinacea|
|May 15||Direct Seed: alyssum, bee balm*, borage, calendula (5/15 to 6/1), campanula+, craspedia*, dill, feverfew*, foxglove+, hollyhock+, marigold, nasturtium, nicotiana, nigella, phlox*, Icelandic poppy, stock, strawflower, sunflower (5/15 to 6/1), sweet Annie, sweet William+, tithonia (5/15 to 6/1), zinnia (5/15 to 6/1) Transplant out: alyssum, bachelor’s button, black-eyed Susan*, borage, calendula, campanula+, columbine*, cosmos, Chinese forget-me-nots, dusty miller, feverfew*, foxglove, hollyhock+, larkspur, lavender*, nicotiana, phlox*, sunflower, tithonia, viola|
|May 20||Transplant out: amaranth, broom corn, hyacinth bean, marigold, snapdragon|
|June 1||Direct Seed: amaranth Transplant out: ageratum, aster*, bee balm*, celosia, craspedia*, gomphrena, lupine*, nasturtium, scabiosa*, sweet William+, statice, stock, strawflower, sweet Annie, yarrow*, zinnia|
|Annual — All flowers listed, unless marked, are traditionally grown as annuals, meaning they complete their life cycle in one growing season.|
|+ Biennial — Plants that complete their life cycle in two years.|
|* Perennial — Plants that, once established, will return each year.|
This flower planting guide was compiled by Clare Boland, with input from Bo Dennis.
This article was originally published in the winter 2022-23 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.