How to grow seedlings

Plant seeds in trays or pots of peat-free multipurpose compost, following the basic instructions on the back of the seed packet. Tiny seeds, such as those of nicotiana may need light to aid germination, while chunky seeds that include sunflowers or nasturtiums will need to be covered with soil at twice their height.


Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Keep pots in a frost-free environment (unless otherwise stated on the seed packet). Avoid growing above a hot radiator, as the seedlings will grow long and leggy.

Once your seeds start to germinate, check out our round-up of the best herb planters for indoor and out for you to pot them into.

Best seed growing kits to buy

Paper Pot Maker

Make your own sturdy, biodegradable seedling pots from recycled newspaper. Seedlings can be planted directly into the ground without being removed from their pots. The set makes three different pot sizes 3cm, 4.75cm and 6cm.

Garden Grow Wooden Two-Tier Potting Bench

Sow seeds, take cuttings and pot on seedlings on the top shelf of this useful potting bench. The lower shelf can be used to store trays and garden tools so they are always close at hand.

Suttons 1806 Red Seed Tin

Featuring a beautiful design from the Suttons archives, this beautiful metal tin enables you to keep all your packets of seeds in one place.

Garden Gear Heated Propagator

Give seeds and cuttings a boost by starting them off in a propagator. The heated base transfers gentle heat to the compost, creating the perfect environment for germination and propagation. A large air vent provides good ventilation.

Gardener’s Deluxe Essentials Kit

This kit contains all the essentials needed to grow your own edible or ornamental plants: one seed dibber, ten biodegradable pots, ten wooden plant markers, a pair of vintage-style flower scissors and a pocket-sized reel of gardener’s twine.

Peat-Free Multi-purpose compost

Make this the year you switch from using peat-based compost to peat-free compost. Peatland landscapes store carbon, help control flooding and create homes for wildlife. CO2 is released into the atmosphere when it is extracted from the ground, which accelerates climate change.


For the best peat free compost recommendations check out this buyer's guide from the experts at Gardens Illustrated.


Louise Midgley is a gardener and garden writer