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.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.

Sowing seeds in autumn mimics a process called stratification, which happens naturally in nature.
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You Will Need

  • Ripe seeds
  • Pots (8cm)
  • John Innes seed compost
  • Watering can
  • Plant labels
  • Pen

Step 1

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

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Step 2

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.

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Step 3

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.

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