Planting involves placing a seedling or plant into the ground, while sowing is scattering seeds onto soil for germination.

TL;DR Planting Vs. Sowing

Planting refers to the process of placing a seedling or plant into the soil. This method is typically used when you have already started growing your plants indoors or have obtained young plants from a nursery.

Planting allows for more control over the growth and development of your crops, as you can choose where exactly each plant goes and ensure optimal spacing.

Sowing involves scattering seeds directly onto prepared soil. This method is commonly used when starting from scratch or growing crops that do not easily transplant well.

Sowing allows for natural dispersion and germination of seeds, often resulting in a dense and abundant crop.


picture of a person planting a seed

Planting is an essential aspect of gardening that involves placing plants, seedlings, or bulbs into the ground. It’s a method used to establish new vegetation in your garden or landscape. When you plant, you typically work with already developed plants rather than starting from seeds.


picture of a sowed cornfield

Sowing is the process of planting seeds in a prepared area of soil. It involves scattering the seeds evenly over the surface and then covering them lightly with soil or compost. This method allows for a more natural distribution of seeds, mimicking how plants would spread their seeds in nature.

Planting Vs. Sowing – Key differences

ActionPlacing seedlings or plants in soilScattering seeds on soil surface
Starting MaterialSeedlings or young plantsSeeds
DepthPlanting at a specific depthSeeds are often lightly covered
ControlMore controlled, fewer seedsLess controlled, many seeds
TimeUsually done with established plantsTypically done with seeds
PurposeOften used to ensure uniform growthUsed to disperse seeds for growth
GerminationSeedlings have already germinatedSeeds germinate after sowing
Labor IntensityModerate to highLower compared to planting

When to Plant and When to Sow

The timing for planting and sowing can vary based on factors like the type of plant, climate, and local growing conditions. Here’s a general guideline:

When to Plant

  • Planting is typically done with established seedlings or young plants that have already germinated.
  • Plant during the appropriate growing season for the specific plant, when the weather and soil conditions are suitable for its growth.
  • Usually done when the danger of frost has passed and temperatures are consistently warm enough for the plant’s needs.

When to Sow

  • Sowing involves scattering seeds onto the soil surface for germination.
  • Sow seeds directly into the soil when the weather and soil conditions are conducive to germination and growth.
  • Timing varies based on the plant and climate. Some seeds are sown in early spring, while others are sown in late spring or early summer.
  • Make sure the soil is warm enough for the specific seeds you’re sowing, as germination rates can be affected by soil temperature.

Benefits and drawbacks of planting

Benefits of Planting

  • Faster Results: Planting seedlings yields quicker growth and maturity due to the head start, ideal for shorter growing seasons or impatient gardeners.
  • Predictable Outcome: Established plants provide a clear idea of their appearance, aiding garden design and ensuring desired characteristics.
  • Reduced Germination Uncertainty: Planting avoids the risk of poor germination, suitable for challenging climates or when consistent results are crucial.

Drawbacks of Planting

  • Higher Costs: Purchasing seedlings can be costly compared to seeds, straining budgets for larger garden areas.
  • Limited Diversity: Planting lacks the wide range of plant varieties that seeds offer, limiting choices for unique or rare plants.
  • Transplant Shock: Transplanted seedlings can experience stress, needing recovery time before optimal growth, potentially affecting overall yield.

Benefits and drawbacks of sowing

Benefits of Sowing

  • Cost-Effective: Sowing seeds is economical for larger areas, as seeds are more affordable than seedlings, making gardening budget-friendly.
  • Diverse Options: Sowing provides a wide range of plant varieties and cultivars, enabling greater plant diversity and experimentation in the garden.
  • Natural Adaptation: Sown seeds adapt directly to local conditions, potentially yielding hardier plants that thrive in your specific environment.

Drawbacks of Sowing

  • Germination Challenges: Successful germination requires favorable conditions, making it uncertain and time-consuming, especially for novice gardeners.
  • Delayed Results: Growing from seeds takes longer to reach maturity, which might not be suitable for regions with short growing seasons or impatient gardeners.
  • Weed Competition: Sown seeds can struggle against weed competition until established, demanding diligent maintenance to ensure optimal growth.

Image Credits

Featured Image By – Photo by Markus Spiske

Image 1 By – Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Image 2 By – Hans from Pixabay


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