Wildflowers are becoming an increasingly popular landscape alternative by adding color and natural beauty to any area. Unlike the typical European-styled formal gardens of straight lines, square corners and manicured edges, wildflower gardens have the appeal of low maintenance by requiring little water and reduced mowing frequency once established. November is a good time to seed your wildflower stand. If it seeds correctly you will have a stand that re-blooms year after year.

Wildflowers thrive in well drained soils. To prepare the seed bed, rake or lightly till the surface of the soil to a maximum depth of one inch.  Shallow soil preparation will limit the disturbance of dormant weed seed. It is helpful to thoroughly mix a carrier such as masonry sand, perlite, or potting soil with the seed to increase volume and aid in even distribution over your site. Your wildflowers will need a minimum of eight hours of direct sunlight per day.

To sow seeds broadcast one half of your seed as uniformly as possible over the prepared area.  Sow the remaining seed in a direction perpendicular to the initial sowing. Press the seed into the soil by walking or rolling over the newly planted area. Do not cover the seed any deeper than 1/16th of an inch.  Some of the seeds will remain visible. Do not plant wild flowers in clover or grasses that grow during the winter (such as annual rye grass or fescues) as this vegetation will be too aggressive to allow the wild flowers to become established.

Your wildflower seeds will require ample moisture to germinate and develop into healthy seedlings. For best results, the area should be kept moist for 4 to 6 weeks during the establishment period. If natural rainfall is inadequate, supplemental watering with a garden hose may be necessary. Light and frequent applications of water should be applied to keep the ground moist. Once your wildflowers begin to germinate do not allow the site to completely dry out but avoid over watering the area. If the soil becomes overly saturated, the seedlings could die from the lack of oxygen supplied to the root system. How frequently you water your newly planted area will depend on local rainfall and soil types. In the western United States you may need to water every day. In the south, central and eastern regions of the United States you may need to water every couple of days. In the southwest desert region, several waterings a day might be needed until your plants are well established. After your seedlings are 1 to 2 inches in height, watering should be gradually reduced and applied only if the plants show signs of stress. On larger projects that cannot be irrigated plant in the fall or early spring during the months when rainfall is usually abundant. If adequate moisture is not received by natural rainfall and irrigation is not possible at your planting site you may run the risk of disappointing results during a dry year.

 

 

Written by Editor