5 Reasons to Plant Starter Plants Instead of Seeds


Looking for a quick, easy way to plant up your vegetable or herb garden? Consider using starter plants (also called transplants, seedlings, or starts) for just about everything but root crops. They’re worth the difference in price when you tally up the advantages over planting seeds. Consider these five reasons to plant starter plants.

1. You get a head start

When you buy starter plants, you’re buying plants that are typically several weeks old, and have been nurtured through the most delicate early stages of growth by professional growers in a greenhouse. It’s like buying an already-roasted chicken at the grocery store — a lot of the work has already been done for you.

2. You can start later

It happens to everyone at some point: You have every intention to start your garden, then something comes up and by the time you get around to planting, it’s days (or weeks) later. Starter plants help make up for the lost time.

3. You get instant satisfaction

Sow seeds in the garden and you’ll be staring at a bed of soil for a while. Put starter plants in there and voila! It looks like you’ve actually planted something. Seeing all that green out there from the get-go can be very inspiring.

4. Your garden starts out stronger

Well-grown starter plants started in a greenhouse (think ideal temperature, moisture, and feeding) have been reared in conditions that encourage well-developed root systems and vigorous growth. Plus, there’s less of a chance that they’ll be affected by cutworms, damping off, or other problems that can bother recently germinated plants.

5. Harvest-time comes sooner

It just makes sense: The closer a plant is to maturity, the sooner it will bear fruit. Starter plants can put you weeks closer to harvest time. That means you can enjoy that garden-fresh bowl of salad, BLT, or homemade salsa that much sooner.

It’s worth noting that root crops, such as carrots and beets, need to be started from seed because they simply don’t grow well from starter plants. A few other crops, such as big-seeded pole beans and tall peas, which get lanky quickly as starter plants, are also easy to start directly in the garden.


Article written by Su Reid-St. John.

plant seedlings: lettuce and basil seedlings
These lettuce and basil seedlings are just going into the ground, yet they'll soon be ready for harvesting.