Identifying which flowers are which from seedlings


Sigh. I cleverly decided to do my balcony planter garden during this pandemic year with flower seedlings.. I purchased 4 packages of Burpee flower seeds. I stupidly managed to mix up the labels of the flats…so even though they seedlings are now well over 2.5cm and in bigger pots, I no longer can figure out how to ID them with only their young leaves (some of the packages have mixed varieties). It’s important due to their different sizes, requirements for space, blooming periods etc. The packages were: COSMOS – bright lights mixed colours; SUNFLOWER – evening sun mixed colours; MIXED FLOWERS- magic carpet’ MIXED FLOWERS – old fashioned. Any information that might help me have a better idea of how to proceed (e.g. pictures/descriptions of the specific leaves?) would be much appreciated! (I did write to Burpee – but no reply has arrived.) Thank you for being there. Stay well and thrive.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Trust me when I say that we have all been there and know how frustrating it is to find out at the last minute after all that hard work that you mixed up the labels.

Just doing a quick goggle search ‘seedling leaves of  Cosmos” brought up a number of images of young Cosmos plants. Cosmos leaves grow opposite and are either deeply lobed, pinnate, or bipinnate and feathery, depending on the variety.

Seedling leaves of Sunflower. The plant has large, broad lower leaves which are oval and arranged alternately on the stem and smaller, narrower upper leaves which are attached individually to the stem.

As for your seed packet with mixed flowers I would look on the packet and see if it lists the seeds of plants which are included. This is what I found on the internet for Burpee’s Mixed Flowers ‘Magic Carpet” : Includes: 17% African Daisy, 10% Collinsia, 8% Annual Candytuft, 8% Nemophila, 7% Limnanthes, 6% Chinese Pink, 6% Iberis, 6% Virginia Stock, 5% Alyssum, 5% Dwarf Snapdragon, 5% Dahlia, and less than 5% each of California Bluebell, Zinnia, Ageratum, Tidy-Tips, Spurred Snapdragon, Annual Phlox, Catchfly.

Burpee’s Mixed Flowers ‘Old Fashion’ includes:  8% each of: Calendula, Cornflower, Painted Daisy, Garland Daisy, Larkspur, Annual Baby’s Breath, Tree Mallow, Soapwort, Zinnia dahlia-flowered, 5% of: Coreopsis, Dianthus, 2.5% of Clarkia, Helichrysum, Corn Poppy, & Annual Phlox.

Hope this helps!