Grass growing up from the soil.

How to Sow Grasses from Seed

Very fashionable and extremely versatile, annual grasses are easy to grow from seed, and can be used in wild, meadow-style plantings, as well as container designs. If you have light, well-drained soil and a sunny site, they may self-seed and recreate their beautiful, natural effect for free.

When to start: Early spring.

At their best: Summer to autumn.

Time to complete: 30 minutes to sow; 1 hour to plant.

You will need: Modular seed trays, seed soil, vermiculite, watering can, small plastic pots, multi-purpose soil.

Seed suggestion: Foxtail millet – Setaria italic, hare’s tail – Lagurus ovatus, quaking grass – Briza maxima, Sorghum nigrum.

Fill modules and sow seeds

Fill a modular seed tray with seed soil to within ¼ in (5 mm) of the top. Tap the tray to settle the soil, top up if necessary, and sow about three or four seeds per cell on the surface. Each module will then produce a small clump of grass.

Cover seedlings

Sprinkle a thin layer of vermiculite over the seeds to keep the surface moist, while also allowing light through to aid germination. Water the tray, using a can fitted with a fine rose. The seeds will take up to three weeks to germinate, depending on the type of grass.

Keep seed trays shaded

Keep the newly sown seed trays in a semi-shaded spot and do not allow them to dry out. When the seedlings appear, move the trays out into the sun. Once they have several strong leaves, pot them up and set them outside. You can collect seed from your own ornamental grasses in late summer to sow the following spring.