Sowing wildflower seeds without care and planning usually produces unsatisfactory results. Here are some important facts to consider.
- Does the site support plants now? If you have a site where nothing including weeds is growing that site is unlikely to support wildflowers.
- Will there be adequate moisture during germination and establishment? Can you supply supplemental water if necessary?
- What weed seeds are likely to be present in the soil? Will weeds spread to your site adjacent areas?
Assessment of these factors will enable you to make a realistic choice of a site where wildflowers will prosper and to decide what action will be necessary to ensure your success.
Seed will need to be properly diluted and put into a spreader for best coverage and even distribution.
Proper site preparation is important for prompt germination of seed and healthy growth of seedlings. Best results will be obtained by planting on cleared ground. Remove existing vegetation to avoid competition from other plants. This may be done by pulling, tilling under, spraying with a general herbicide, or by a combination of these methods. Tilling should be utilized only when soil is very compacted and further weed control measures can be taken.
When To Plant
The best time to plant in your area depends on the climate and rainfall patterns as well as the species you are planting.
In cool climates, plant annuals, perennials or mixtures of annuals and perennials in spring, early summer or late fall. Fall plantings should be late enough so that seeds do not germinate until spring. Perennials can also be sown in early fall provided that there are at least 10-12 weeks of growing time before the plants go dormant for the winter. Late fall plantings are advantageous when supplemental irrigation cannot be provided and adequate rainfall is anticipated in the spring.
In Mild climates, plant during the cooler months of the year, fall through spring, for best results. Fall plantings done prior to periods of rainfall will insure an early display of flowers the following spring.
Method of application depends on the size of the area and the terrain. On small areas, broadcast the seeds evenly either by hand or by use of a drop or cyclone spreader. It is important that the proper procedures are followed to minimize the amount of time that the seed is circulated through the pumps or paddles prior to application. Over circulation may damage the seed. You will want to dilute the seed with two parts vermiculite to one part seed for best coverage and even distribution. We have included a 12 oz. bag of vermiculite with your 6 oz bag of pure seed so that you will have what you need for proper seed dilution.
Rake in lightly, covering seeds to a maximum depth of 2-3 times their thickness.
All seeds, including wildflowers, need ample moisture to germinate and develop into healthy seedlings. Best results will be obtained by soaking the planted areas thoroughly and maintaining consistent moisture for 4-6 weeks – then gradually reducing waterings. In non-irrigated situations, plant in the spring or before periods of anticipated rainfall. After seedlings are established, watering may be reduced depending on the climate and rainfall. In arid climates or during drought conditions, up to ½ inch of supplemental water per week may be required to maintain an optimal display. If weeds are present, remember that they benefit from moisture as much as the wildflowers and may dominate over watered areas.