New to gardening? Wildflowers are a delightful way to bring some beauty to your yard. Gardeners of all skill levels can enjoy success, no matter how much they know about growing plants.
When to Plant Wildflowers
Mid to late fall is the ideal time to prepare your soil and sow your wildflower seeds. Choose an area that receives 6 or more hours of sunlight every day. Don’t worry too much about soil fertility. Wildflowers are tough and can handle poor soil quality. You want well-drained, aerated soil that is not compacted. You’ll also want to clear the area of competition from weeds and other plants.
Prepare the Soil for Wildflowers
To prep the soil, pull any weeds and break up the surface of the ground with a hoe or a rake. Don’t worry about going very deep -- 2 inches or so of loosened topsoil is fine. Water the area well, and wait a couple of weeks. If any weeds sprout, pull them again. This way you’re sure that you’ve created a nice friendly spot for your wildflowers to take hold without a lot of other competing plant life to choke them out.
Wildflower gardens create an abundance of flowers throughout the growing season. It’s great to share your garden with the birds, bees, and butterflies that are naturally attracted to these flowers, too!
Sow Your Wildflower Seeds
When you’re ready to sow your seeds, either sprinkle or lightly rake the seeds into the surface of the soil. If your seeds are hard to manage and spread evenly, mixing them with sand can help. A 6:1 ratio of seeds to sand works well to help you get good coverage.
After the seeds are spread across the soil, gently press them into the soil with a board or gently walking across the area. Tamp them into the soil for good seed-soil contact, but don’t compress the soil too much. Gently mist the area of your seeds daily if it doesn’t rain. Your seeds will typically germinate in 7 to 14 days.
Choosing the Right Wildflower Mix
Mixes of wildflowers are combined specifically to create a variety of colors, heights, and blooming times. When picking out your wildflower mix, make sure to consider your climate and growing conditions. Online resources like this Colorado State University Extension article can help if you’re looking for information specific to your local area. Choose the right mix for your zone, which will include both native varieties and wildflowers that are well-adapted to your climate.
Written by Teresa Chandler