Seeds ready to harvest

How to sow fresh seed in autumn

Learn how to sow seeds collected from plants like foxgloves and knautia in autumn.

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

Many seeds collected in autumn can be sown straightaway.

Find out how to collect and sow seeds.

Sowing seeds in autumn mimics a process called stratification, which happens naturally in nature – the seeds fall to the ground, and a period of cold weather triggers them to germinate.

Seeds from native plants and plants that come from colder climes are especially suited to autumn sowing. Try angelica, bidens, foxglove, knautia, crocosmia (montbretia), Solomon's seal, spindle tree (euonymus), sweet cicely, red valerian and yarrow (achillea).

Simply follow the instructions below, then place your pots outside or in a cold frame so that they're exposed to the winter weather.

You will need

  • Ripe seeds
  • 8cm pots
  • John Innes seed compost
  • Watering can
  • Plant labels and pen


Collect the seeds on a dry day, taking care not to damage them as you do so.

Sow a few seeds into an 8cm pot, filled with John Innes seed compost. Water, label and date. Place the container in a cold frame or at the side of the house so it has some shelter. Make sure that the compost does not dry out, but only water when necessary.

Once the seedlings emerge in early spring, grow on until they are large enough to handle. Pot each seedling singly to allow each one space to develop.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

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How to sow hardy annuals

How to grow candelabra primulas from seed

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