Don’t be fooled by the name; wildflowers aren’t just for the wild. Adding wildflowers to your garden is a dazzling way to add some life to a dull garden.
Wildflowers bloom with versatility and vibrance and will provide an excellent display for many months into the year as an alternative to borders and lawns.
What’s more, you can make your wildflower garden a vital food source for bees and other pollinators.
Knowing the best planting times can seem daunting but carry on reading, and we’ll make sure you’re all set for planting wildflower seeds.
When to plant wildflower seeds?
The beauty of wildflowers is that they can be seen throughout the year, with blooms only taking between 60-80 days.
If your temperature and soil conditions allow it, you can sow your wildflower seeds in early spring, like March and April. If you can’t make early spring, you can opt for fall planting.
But ideally, you’ll want to plant your wildflower seeds in late fall for the earliest display of wildflowers. If your soil is light, planting wildflower seeds in autumn means they will take root and establish swiftly.
Unfortunately, some of your wildflowers will not bloom until the following spring. If your garden suffers from heavy or waterlogged soil, you’ll want to wait until March or April to plant your wildflower seeds.
How late can you plant wildflower seeds?
As already mentioned, although you can plant wildflowers seeds at any time of year, the two critical times to aim for are mid-March to mid-May and mid-August to mid-October.
Because temperature plays a crucial role in deciding when to plant wildflower seeds, ensure the temperature stays consistently over 10 degrees centigrade.
Of course, if you live in a warm, tropical location, planting wildflower seeds may be possible a little later in the year. But what you want to avoid at all costs is frost, especially late frosts.
You could be very disappointed if you were to sow your wildflower seeds earlier on during a warm-weather spell, and your wildflower seedlings die off due to late frost.
Do wildflower seeds come back every year?
You have two choices with wildflowers. They either work perfectly as annual meadows or from perennial meadows from year to year color in your garden.
But whether your wildflower seeds come back every year depends on the soil your site has available.
Annual meadows, like Cornfield annuals, need rich soils and are a good choice for converting existing borders. In contrast, perennial meadows work well on poor soils where the grass isn’t as competitive against the wildflowers.
So, if you want your wildflowers to come back yearly and your garden has rich soil, remove the top layer, and sew your wildflower seeds straight into rotovated or dug sub-soil.
Can you throw wildflower seeds on the ground?
You shouldn’t just be asking yourself when to plant wildflower seeds, but also ask how to plant wildflower seeds. Many budding gardeners often ask, ‘can I just sow wildflower seeds straight onto grass?’
The straight answer is no. Well, not if you want to give your wildflowers the best chance of success.
For a much better chance of your wildflowers thriving, you’ll find it easier to create an established wildflower meadow from scratch with a bit of site preparation.
How do you prepare the ground for wildflower seeds: 9-step guide
Creating an annual or perennial wildflower meadow is easy; just follow a few simple steps to planting wildflower seeds.
- Always do your site evaluations. Make sure you have the right soil conditions, good drainage, and plant at the right time of the year.
- Opt for poor soil conditions where possible. For example, if your garden or site has rich soil, you can starve the soil of nutrients or look for an area of soil that is already soil deficient or unused.
- A handy way to reduce soil fertility is by stripping away the top layer, or 5-10cm of soil. Don’t go any further than an inch into the soil. Soil preparation that goes too deep can leave room for dormant weeds conquering your wildflowers.
- Walk or rollover your new planted area to get the right amount of seed/soil contact and proper germination.
- Remove all existing weeds, plants, flora, and grass for the best chance of germination, establishment, and growth of your wildflower seeds.
- Create a level seedbed by digging the soil and firming it down before raking.
- Use your hand or a seed spreader when planting wildflower seeds. Cover a large area with only a small number of seeds. Sowing wildflower seeds at a rate of 5g per m2 of soil is recommended.
- Do not let your site get completely dry in droughts. Low rainfall after germination will not help your wildflowers establish or grow. Instead, keep the soil moist with supplemental watering.
- Cover the newly seeded area with netting to protect from hungry birds.
Can I throw wildflower seeds over grass?
Many people hope just to throw their wildflower seeds over grass. But, again, the answer is no.
As already mentioned, proper preparation and planting of wildflower seeds are your best bet for adequate germination and blooming.
Any budding gardeners who want to convert their lawn to a wildflower meadow will need patience. It can take several years to create the perfect balance between wildflowers and grass.
To get this balance, follow the five steps below before planting wildflower seeds;
- Stop using grass feed or weedkillers.
- Weaken the grass in the first year by mowing the lawn weekly.
- Look for the wildflower species that establish and thrive easiest.
- Raise other wildflowers from seed. Grow them first for one to two years in pots as house plants before introducing them to the turf.
- Find a wildflower retailer that offers plug plants. Plug plants are perfect for established lawns. They also look nice and natural when planted in small groups of the same plant.