Planting Wildflower Seed for the Best Blooms
Posted December 07, 2022
The timing of planting wildflower seeds will all depend on the area you live in, zone and microclimate. Fall is a good choice if your area experiences cold or freezing winters and the ground freezes for more than 2 months. A good rule of thumb is to sow seed after there has been at least one or two hard killing frost. You want your seeds to lay dormant over the winter and when there is no chance for germination. You definitely don’t want the seed to begin to sprout or the sprouts can die off as soon as freezing temperatures arrive. Ultimately the soil temperature should be below 45 degrees. An example is in our zone 8b, our first average frost date is November 1st, but we can still have warm days, so we wait till we have had several hard freezes before planting seed. We test the soil temperature in the warmest part of the day and if it is below 45 we sow seed. On an average, December is the best time for us to sow seed in our climate. Yours may be earlier if your hard freeze is sooner.
If you live in a warm winter climate, sowing wildflower seeds should be done in January or February, with a germination taking place in 3-5 weeks of sowing seeds.
Most wildflower seeds need that freezing, thawing and extra moisture winter generally delivers to help crack their hard, outer seed cases.
Better soil preparation means more wildflowers! Removing grasses, weeds and other plants will make room for your wildflowers to grow and thrive. Your seeds will germinate better in a site without competing plants shading them out and using resources like nutrients and water. Weeds can out compete wildflower seedlings, so removing them gives your wildflowers the best chance to thrive.
- Soil should be loosened to help make the root growth much easier for thriving plants. You can rake, till or spade over the soil.
- Seeds need contact with the soil and plenty of sunlight to germinate.
- You can mix your seed with dry sand to make spreading your seed more evenly.
- You can spread your seed with a seed spreader for large areas. When using hand sprinkling method, be careful not to spread to thickly. Even application can be done by spreading from north to south lightly and a second application of spreading the opposite direction. More seeds do not mean more blooms. Follow the recommended rate for individual species. To densely seeded can create completion among seedlings causing them to be leggy.
- Once seeds have been sown, it’s very important to make sure the seeds have good contact. You can walk over the seeds or tamp down with the back of a rake or even a tamper. Good contact will speed up germination, ensure the wind does not blow them away or be washed away with watering or rains.
- Leave your seed exposed. If you have a bird issue or even cats digging, you can use a light row cover till seeds have germinated and grown to 1/2 - 1 inch tall. Many true wildflower seeds aren’t appealing to birds.
- If your area doesn’t receive much moisture in the winter months, you can do a light sprinkle a few times a month, and increase as the season warms in the spring. Wildflowers do not require much water to thrive.
Most everyone’s soil will support growing wildflowers! If something is growing such as weeds or grass, you can grow wildflowers!
Wildflowers do not need to be fertilized to grow. They are extremely adaptable and do well in poor soils.
Full sun is a must for most wildflower varieties. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of sun. For areas less than 4 hours, look for shade wildflower seed varieties.
Wildflower seeds naturally drop their seeds in the summer and fall and continue to reproduce for years to come if allowed.
Great Wildflower Seeds: