How to grow a wildflower garden
Know when to sow a wildflower garden
Wildflowers are easy to grow, and the best time to sow wildflower seeds for a wildflower garden is in autumn and spring. Choosing the right time to plant your wildflower seeds is a key decision to growing a wildflower garden. If you sow in autumn, you will get spring blooms, but if you decide to sow in spring, then you will have flowers blooming in late summer!
Regardless of when you decide to plant your wildflower seeds, wildflower mixes that contain meadow grass are better sown when temperatures are 10°C and above. This will allow the grasses in the mix to create a nursery for the wildflowers, and it also helps to keep weeds away!
Some people think the best time to sow wildflower seeds is in autumn, so the seedlings undergo the ‘freeze process’, known as stratification - this also means your wildflowers appear in spring. But since our wildflower seeds are kept in cold storage all year round, you can sow our seeds in autumn or spring with great results!
However, it is best to avoid sowing wildflower seeds when conditions are frosty or icy outside, as these cold conditions will halt your wildflower’s growth!
How to prepare your soil for a wildflower garden
The prep work to prepare the seedbed is the most important thing when knowing how to grow a wildflower garden, followed by sowing your seed, and then the rest is done by nature!
Before you begin, it’s important to remember that wildflowers are not like grass – wildflowers love poor soil conditions, but grass loves nutrients. So, instead of adding fertilisers and topsoil to increase soil nutrients, you want to do the opposite or choose an area of your garden where nothing ever grows!
If your garden is very healthy and contains only good soil, you can remove the top 5-10cm of soil to lower nutrient levels. You should also know that very fertile soils can cause some annual wildflower species to grow undesirably tall, so it’s a good idea not to skip this step!
Tips for preparing your soil:
- Remove all grass, weeds and flora from the area
- Remove weeds and dig out their roots
- Use a garden rake to level out the soil
- Remove the top layer if the soil in your garden is of good quality
- Do not add topsoil or compost to the area – wildflowers love soil low in fertility
- Leave the area to settle for a few weeks to encourage any sneaky weeds to appear
- Remove any weeds that appear
- Rake over the area once again
- Your soil is now ready for sowing
Choosing your wildflower seed
Picking the right wildflower mix where you would like to see the flowers bloom is an important part of growing a wildflower garden! For example, you might want a colourful mix for a flower bed or border, or you might want to sow seeds that contain grasses to create a wildflower meadow for birds, bees and butterflies. You might even want some colour in parts of your garden where nothing ever seems to want to grow.
No matter where you want to create your wildflower garden, we have wildflower seed mixes to suit every situation!
We also have 100% annuals, perennials, and seed mixes containing meadow grasses. These different seed mix options have their benefits depending on what type of wildflower garden you want, and we explain some of these benefits below.
100% wildflower seed mixes (with no grasses)
Our 100% wildflower seed mixes, like our Absolutely Annuals provide a showpiece bloom that bursts with colour in just 60-80 days from when planted! This 100% annual seed mix looks best when added to flower beds and borders and is a great addition to compliment a well-cared-for lawn, giving it a wild side!
Annuals bloom for one season, and then the flowers die. You can collect seeds from the flowers at the end of the season and replant them for the following year, but generally, annuals are a one-trick pony. However, they are also a good way for newcomers to get to grips with how to grow a wildflower garden.
We also have our Bloomin’ Marvellous Meadow mix is a luxurious and vibrant 100% wildflower seed mix. We combined annuals and perennials, so the annuals and perennials bloom beautifully with colour in the first year, followed by the elegance of perennial wildflowers in the years that come after.
Seeds for clay soils and shaded areas of your garden
We have seed mixes for troublesome clay soils and areas of your garden that get very little sunlight. For example, our Clay Display mix creates a wildflower haven in clay soils where most other flowers will struggle to grow. And our Shade Showcase wildflower mix is full of stunning shade-loving wildflowers for creating a vibrant wildflower meadow in shady spots of your garden.
Wildflower mixes for bees and butterflies
Bringing bees and butterflies into your garden does look pretty. But it is also important to remember that you will be helping pollinator populations get the nectar and pollen needed to fuel their busy communities. This also helps us since pollinators are an essential part of our planet’s ecosystem!
Our Bees Please seed mix provides beautiful blooms from purple coneflower, cosmos sensation, musk mallow, foxglove (and others) that bees love! Similar to Bees Please, our Hi Butterfly mix is packed with flowers that butterflies and other pollinators love. It features smooth blue aster, oxeye sunflower, corn poppy and rudbeckia (and more) that offer stunning bursts of colour to please butterflies’ needs!
Sowing your wildflower seed
Now that your soil is ready and you have picked the ideal seed mix for your garden, you are ready to start planting your wildflower. We have a detailed guide here on how to sow wildflower seed, but we have also broken this down into five easy steps below:
- Scatter your seed at a rate of 5g per m2
- You can measure this out in a cup or sprinkle it by hand
- Spread the seed out, and don’t sow the seed too close together
- Rake in the seed and firm it down by foot to embed it into the soil
- Water your seed for the first few weeks if there is no rainfall
Maintaining your wildflower garden
Maintaining your wildflower meadow is as important as the steps you've already completed! At the end of the blooming period, your wildflower petals will begin to turn brown and wrinkle. This is when you can start preparing your wildflower garden for the following year, and there are two ways you can go about doing this. One method is known as seed saving, where you collect seeds from the flowers before cutting your meadow, and the other is to cut or trim your meadow down to 7cm and then firm the fallen seeds back into the soil.
If you want to sow some new wildflower seeds on top of what you already have, aim to do this over at least 50% bare soil to give the new seeds space to grow. And if you have any questions about how to grow a wildflower garden or want some advice on your own wildflower meadow, please get in touch, and we will be happy to help!