How to grow houseplants from seeds

Whether this is your first plant or one of many, growing new plants is now on the list. You can propagate your existing plants through cuttings, or you can start from scratch with seed. Which one is better?

Both are skills that require cultivation. While growing from cuttings is most accessible because you already have the plant at hand, starting plants from seeds is its own reward. Here’s what you need to know about growing houseplants from seed and a few fast-growing indoor plants to make it all easier.

How to grow houseplants from seeds
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What houseplants can be grown from seed?

Nearly every houseplant can start from a seed, so that’s not the real question. It’s a matter of which houseplant will sprout indoors with the conditions you have. In some cases, seeds need both heat and light to grow, while others only need a bit of moisture and a good-enough temperature.

A few common indoor houseplants will willingly grow from seed, including:

  • Peace lilies
  • Asparagus fern
  • English ivy
  • Living stone
  • Cat grass

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Research your ideal plants to find out which ones will grow quickly from seed in indoor conditions.

How long does it take for a seed to grow into a plant?

Different plants have different germination times. Under ideal conditions, you may see sprouts the same week you plant them. In other cases, seeds must brood in their conditions much longer.

If you plant seeds and haven’t seen anything in a few weeks, take a look at that particular seed’s ideal conditions. Does it need more light? Does it need more heat? Did you bury the seed too deep or not deep enough? Changing the conditions to suit the seed may result in that long-awaited seedling.

What seeds grow best indoors?

It’s possible to grow a variety of seeds indoors with the right conditions. However, a few are particularly suited to indoor starts. If this is your first time trying to sprout a seed, you might try:

  • Coleus
  • Marigolds
  • Peace lilies

Experiment with your conditions. You may find that other types of plants are particularly suited to the germination methods you have on hand.

What is the easiest seed to grow indoors?

The easiest seed to grow indoors is one that matches the conditions you have. Take an analytical look at your light, your home’s average temperature, the soil you have, and the humidity of your home. It really is that simple.

How to grow houseplants from seeds
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Growing a seed step by step

To get started on your seed growing journey, here’s what you need to do.

  • Read the requirements for your seed germination — pay close attention to light, humidity, and planting depth.
  • Find a space in your home that supports those conditions.
  • Choose your container wisely. It should be small enough that your seed receives moisture but with a little room for your seedling to grow roots and spread out.
  • Ensure your planting medium is ultra-loose. Those first few roots will need a little help spreading out.
  • Once you see a sprout, keep your seedling moist by misting it once a day. Don’t let the medium dry out, but be sure there’s plenty of light to prevent mold and help the seedling start photosynthesis.
  • Keep your seedling in its original growing container until you notice something called “true leaves.” These leaves resemble the plant’s real leaves, whereas the first two seedling leaves look like a generic plant.

With some care and time, you should see little seedlings coming up!

Troubleshooting your seeds

If your seed doesn’t germinate, there are a few things you can do.

  • Research the average germination time for your seed. It can take several days, weeks, or even months for the germination process to happen.
  • Tweak the light.  Not all seeds need light to germinate, but many do. Move the seed to a brighter window.
  • Change the humidity. Placing a plastic bag or a bell jar over your seedling helps increase the humidity and could tease out your seedling.
  • Change the planting depth. Some seeds want the standard planting depth, but some only want a light covering of soil or no covering at all.
  • Be patient. If you’ve done everything the seed has asked, it may be a matter of waiting. Give it plenty of time, and if you don’t see anything in a few weeks, you can decide whether to keep trying or start over.

When you make changes, do them one by one, giving your seed time to adjust in between. Change the light and wait a few days before doing something else, for example. In many cases, it’s all about gentle patience.

Growing from seeds is a practice

Don’t be discouraged if your first foray into seed growing doesn’t end up with tons of thriving plants. It takes patience and time to learn how to germinate seeds with regularity. Start with some of the simple seeds on our list and take heart. Some fast-growing indoor plants may not have quick germination. The best part is the journey.

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