Sow sensory plants from seed


Many annual plants appeal to the senses, sow these attractive plants from seed.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Indoors
  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Learn to sow plants from seed
  • Learn what seeds need to grow

Essential background information


Choose the seeds to be sown and most suitable size pots.

Set out the equipment, put compost into large accessible trays.

Print out the How to Sow Seeds card & seed glossary.


  • Pots or modules
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite 
  • Labels and pencils
  • Provide gloves if pupils have cuts or eczema on their hands
  • Seeds 

Choosing the best seeds

Here are some suggestions of seeds you can grow for their different sensory properties:

  • Dill or coriander for their smell
  • Nasturtium or rocket for their taste
  • African marigold or poached egg plant for their scent
  • Bunny tail grass or love-in-a-mist (Nigella) for their texture
  • Briza grass for its sound
  • Godetia or pot marigold for their appearance

Step by step

  1. Introduce the seeds to be sown – read the seed packet to give background and sowing depth.
  2. Write labels first, include the date and name of the plant. Alternatively write on masking tape and stick this to the pot.
  3. Crumble the compost with fingers so there are no large lumps.  Fill the container with compost, over-fill it and tap the sides 3 times. Use the flat of your hand to strike off excess compost and level the surface.
  4. Put seeds in a shallow saucer so they are easy to pick up.
  5. Sow the seeds: for large seeds make a hole with your finger or dibber twice the size of the seed, gently push the seed into the hole and gently cover with compost.  For small seeds sprinkle the seeds on top of the compost, allow space between the seeds.
  6. Sieve a thin layer of compost or vermiculite over small seeds.
  7. Water carefully by standing the pot in a shallow tray of water for a few hours and cover with a clear plastic bag or a propagator on a light windowsill. Remember to check it and water again when the compost is dry.

Hints & tips

  • Use the hand you write with to sow the seeds. Pick up tiny seeds between your index finger and thumb.
  • Make sure seeds are evenly spaced to reduce damping off and over-crowding.
  • Use this activity as part of Sensory Sensations class growing topic.

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