As we have said before the key to success in sowing wildflower seed is in the planning. Wildflowers once established will create an area of the garden that will be interesting, beautiful and keep changing each year as the seasons change.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as buying a bit of seed and throwing it on the ground. Wild flowers by their nature have not been commercially bred to grow quickly or suit any conditions. Wildflowers have developed over time naturally finding conditions that suit them.
To establish wildflowers successfully from seed you need to give them some help. You need to consider the following.
Before planting wildflower seed ideally clear the ground.
The more effort you put into clearing the ground the better the chance of success.
If you are considering planting on ground that has been left idle for a number of years. Then you need to consider clearing or killing the existing vegetation and also reducing the existing seed bank.
If you dig over the area and plant wildflowers straight away there is a risk that the existing seed bank will grow quicker than the wildflowers and you may end back where you started.
Our advice is to remove what is there at present. Dig the ground over and level it as if you were going to plant it straight away. Leave it fallow for a few weeks or months, then kill of any regrowth. Do not dig it over a second time, rather rake the ground, broadcast the wildflower seed and roll it afterwards.
One issue you need to be aware of in the spring is later germinating weeds such as thistles. Customers often say that there was nothing growing in an area for years except grass. They are then surprised when having dug it over a certain weed appears in profusion.
This may be because the grass smothers out competition especially if it has been being regularly cut. The seed has little chance to grow. Another factor can be in turning the soil over
you bring seeds nearer the surface and they can then germinate. Leaving the ground fallow for a while and say planting in early April will catch most things. It will though not catch species such as thistle which may not start to grow until May.
You have to accept that you will never kill of everything but rather you are aiming to reduce the competition for the wildflower seed.
If the ground is poor soil and there is very little grass you may be able to sow a 100% wild flower seed mix straight into the area. We normally suggest having a minimum of 50% bare soil. You need also to have poor grass ideally not perennial ryegrass as this is too vigorous.
Match the wildflowers to the conditions.
Rather than change the soil to suit the plant you sow the appropriate mix for the conditions
that you have got. For example, then
If you have Acid Soil;
Or a woodland area
Then you can find mixtures that have the right wildflowers that are correct for your conditions.
To see our full range of mixes click Meadow Mixes
Perennial or Annual Wildflowers
Whilst annuals give a much more colourful show they will only flower for one year. Perennials take longer to get established, but once they are established they will come back year after year.
A common route is to sow a mixture of annuals and perennials together so that you get a colourful show in the first year. Then from the second year the perennials start to come to the fore. You cut the perennials back once a year then they grow back again.
Wildflower Seed Rates
Seed rates of Wildflowers are very low per square metre. A common misperception is that if you plant the seeds more thickly you will get a more colourful show. In fact, the risk that you take is that you will get one species dominating or the grass will take over.
Cornfield Annuals 2 grams to the sq mtre
Grass & Perennial Meadow Mixes at 4 grams to the sq mtre
100% perennial seed mix at 1.5 gram to the sq metr.
If you add cornfield Annuals to the meadow or perennial mix sow them at only 1 gram to the square metre or they may smother the other species.
If you do the planning, put in the work and choose the right wildflower seed mix at the correct seed rate. Then you stand every chance of getting a beautiful wildflower meadow established from seed.
Once established you will need to cut it down at least once a year but you can enjoy it throughout the summer. Species such as Poppy and Cornflower are bright and attractive. Perennials such as Campion, Ragged Robin, Field Scabious will give you pleasure year after year. If you would like any more information at this stage explore our website
Or please contact Tim Evans on 0800 0854399 (Freephone) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org