Planting Seeds Vs. Seedlings: What Is Better?

There are many decisions you have to make as a gardener. Some include choosing the planting location and the type of plants you’ll grow. One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is whether to plant seeds or seedlings.

Planting seeds is relatively simple and cheaper, whereas planting seedlings is rather expensive. Your requirements often determine the planting technique you choose.

Keep in mind that some plants grow well when grown from seed while others from seedlings. So, before planting, conduct thorough research to understand all your plant’s requirements. Also, choose what you prefer.

But note that planting from seed consumes more time and effort. So, if you have a tight schedule, this may not work for you. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of planting seeds and seedlings.

How and where can you buy seeds and seedlings?

You can purchase both seeds and seedlings from your local garden store. There is a broad spectrum of seeds you can buy. So, consider paying a visit to your local garden store.

You can also look for seeds online. Buying seeds from a physical store gives you the unique opportunity to interact with the manufacturer one on one. This way, you can seek clarification and guidance on how to go about planting.

Consider purchasing different seed varieties to fill your garden. More often than not, gardeners buy seedlings. Gardening experts usually advise purchasing transplants from a reputable garden store.

Once you purchase seedlings, handle them with care to avoid damaging them since they are delicate. Nonetheless, note that seedlings do not offer as much variety as seeds.

Advantages of planting from seed

  • Relatively affordable: As mentioned earlier, planting from seed is much cheaper than growing from seedling. Buying a packet of seeds costs half the price of a seedling. Therefore, if you are looking to save money, it would be best to plant from seeds. Moreover, you can find seeds from eaten fruits and vegetables. At times, you won’t have to buy seeds.
  • Wide range of options: If you are planting from seed, you have a wide selection to choose from. With seeds, you can grow any plant species. Also, you can purchase seeds from different manufacturers. On the other hand, seedlings do not offer a lot of variety. So, you’ll always be limited to the plant species you choose. Additionally, not all manufacturers sell seedlings.
  • Experience the whole life cycle: If you are passionate about gardening, you will definitely enjoy gardening from seed. This is because you will get to experience the entire life cycle of the plant. After sowing the seed, you’ll witness it germinate. From there, you’ll see it grow and flower and harvest at the end of the planting season. Seeing the whole growth process of the plant is undoubtedly fulfilling.
  • Plants grow better when grown from seed: Generally, certain plants thrive best when grown from seed. Some of these plants are radishes, carrots, and beets. So, before planting, it is always advisable to understand the planting requirements of all the plants you wish to grow.

Disadvantages of growing plants from seed

  • Time-consuming process: You need to exercise a lot of patience when growing plants from seed. Seeds take time to germinate and mature. They need time to develop a strong shoot and root system. Some plants grown from seeds can take up to three months to mature. Therefore, if you have a tight schedule, growing plants from seed is not a good idea. Additionally, if you are planting a wide range of plant species, this process consumes a lot of effort.
  • The need for a bigger garden space: Usually, seeds grown directly into the soil need ample garden space. Thus, you need to plan your garden even before you start planting. If you have limited garden space, this may not work for you.
  • Identifying the right time to plant: Gardeners find it challenging to identify the right time for sowing. It is crucial to ensure that you sow seeds when the temperatures are ideal for plant growth. If you are a beginner, you might find it challenging to know this. The best thing to do is to master the last frost date in your area. Doing this can help you know the best time to sow your seeds. At times, you might have to start planting indoors.
  • Not all will sprout: Occasionally, you may not be able to control the outcome of planting seeds in your garden. Even though you incorporate the best plant maintenance practices, some seeds won’t sprout. There are many reasons why your seeds won’t sprout. So, you need not worry. When you encounter such a situation, it would be best to start sowing the seeds again.
  • Learning curve: If you are a beginner, you’ll have to do a lot of trial and error. Even if you get tired, don’t give up in the process. Remember, it’s all learning, so you have to get prepared. In case things do not go your way, don’t get frustrated.

Advantages of planting seedlings

  • You don’t have to start from scratch: One of the main benefits of growing plant seedlings is that you don’t have to start from scratch. You’ll be steps ahead of the growth cycle. This is because transplants have already sprouted. As a result, seedlings incorporate a shorter growth period. Also, you won’t have to pay much attention to the plant since the plant is bigger and more robust compared to young seeds.
  • Buy only what you need: When growing plants from seedlings, you have the unique privilege of knowing the number of plants that will be present in your garden. Subsequently, it is much easier to plan for space in your garden when growing from seedlings. If you have a small garden, you’ll always know the exact number of plants you need to grow.
  • Able to withstand the climatic conditions of your region: When you purchase transplants from your nearest local garden store, you rest assured that the plants can survive the climatic conditions of your area. This is because the seedling manufacturer was able to grow the transplants well, given the present conditions of your region.
  • Some plants do better when grown from the start: Typically, some plants grow better when grown from seedlings. Good examples of these plants include kale and broccoli. Peppers and tomatoes also thrive when grown from transplants.
  • Short growing period: If you want to harvest quickly, growing from transplants is a good idea. Transplants take a very short time to mature compared to seeds. This is because you don’t begin planting from scratch. Nevertheless, you have to ensure you incorporate the best planting techniques for the seedlings to mature fast.

Disadvantages of planting from seedlings

  • More expensive: Indisputably, planting from seedlings is more costly. Seedlings are way expensive compared to seeds. This is because manufacturers take their time to tend to the seedlings. Hence, they put a high price tag on them. Thus, if you have a limited budget, you may not want to plant from seedlings. It would be best to grow from seeds.
  • Limited variety: Usually, you won’t find a lot of plant varieties when you choose to grow from seedlings. Seedling manufacturers will only sell what’s popular among most homeowners. On the other hand, you can find any type of seed in your local garden store. Growing from transplants is not the best option if you want to plant a broad spectrum of plant varieties in your garden.

How do you know it’s time to repot your seedlings?

A good percentage of gardeners prefer growing from seed and transplanting by themselves. More often than not, gardeners will kick off planting in containers and pots or nurseries so that they can easily monitor the plant.

When the plants in the nursery are a bit larger, they transplant them into the garden, big growbags or larger pots. Transplanting helps the plant to grow to its full potential. It helps the plant grow a healthy root system.

How do you know it’s time to transplant your seedlings?

  • Developed a set of leaves: If your seedlings have one or two sets of leaves, it is time to transplant them. This usually happens when the seedlings are approximately 21 days old. At this time, they are strong enough to grow in your garden.
  • Yellow cotyledons: In case you didn’t know, cotyledons are usually the first leaves to sprout from a seed. When you notice that these leaves are turning color and starting to fall off, transplant the seedling.
  • Yellow true leaves: After the cotyledons, true leaves begin to sprout. If this happens, you need to transplant your seedling immediately. When the true leaves start becoming yellow, this is a sign that your plants are in dire need of nutrients.
  • Crowded plants: When your plants start overcrowding, you should transplant them immediately. Keep in mind that overcrowded plants won’t grow to their maximum potential. This is because they may not be able to obtain all the nutrients they need.

Planting from seeds or seedlings – which one wins?

Your requirements will determine whether you should grow from seeds or seedlings at the end of the day. Nonetheless, consider using both planting techniques, especially if you want to grow different plant varieties.