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Planting Wildflowers
Growing Wildflowers From Seed

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PLANTING WILDFLOWERS

When to Plant: The best time to plant in your area depends on the climate and rainfall patterns as well as the wildflower species you are planting. In cool climates, plant wildflower 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. In mild climates, plant during the cooler months of the year, fall through spring, for best results.

Site Preparation: Before planting, remove all weeds and grasses; best results will be obtained by planting on cleared ground. Remove existing vegetation by pulling, tilling under, spraying with a general herbicide, or by a combination of these methods. Loosen compacted soil by scraping, tilling or scarifying. Tilling should be utilized only when soil is very compacted and further weed control measures can be taken. Read more about Wildflower Site Prep.

Planting Rate: A minimum and maximum planting rate is given for each wildflower seed mixture. A planting rate in the minimum range is usually sufficient to establish a good stand of wildflowers on prepared soil with adequate maintenance. The maximum rate is recommended when adequate soil preparation and weed control are impossible, or when a maximum display is required. Avoid using more than the recommended rates since poor perennial establishment may result.

Planting Depth: If seeds are broadcast, rake in LIGHTLY, covering seeds no more than 2-3 times their thickness (some seeds will show on surface of soil). If seeds are drilled, drill to a maximum of 1/4 inch. If hydroseeding is the method of application, hydro-mulching will provide a top cover.

Moisture: Planted areas MUST be kept consistently moist for 4-6 weeks during the growing season until wildflower seedlings are well established. During this period, daily watering may be necessary if rainfall is inadequate. Thereafter, watering should be gradually reduced.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU RESEED? (Click for more)
Many people prefer the vibrant, long lasting colors that are provided by annual wildflowers. In most parts of North America, there is just one way to create an annual wildflower color garden year after year...

By reseeding wildflowers each year
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Additional Site Preparation Info:

Proper site preparation is important for prompt germination of wildflower 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, depending upon the size of the area, type and density of vegetation and other factors. Loosen soil by scraping, tilling or scarifying. Tilling should be used utilized only when soil is very compacted and further weed control measures can be taken. Specific recommendations are given under the heading "Weed Control".

Wildflower Seed Application

Method of application depends on the size of the area and the terrain. On small areas, broadcast wildflower seeds evenly either by hand or by use of a drop or cyclone spreader. It a helpful to mix a carrier such as clean, dry sand with the seed; sand adds volume and aids in even distribution of your seeds. We recommend using a ratio of 1 or 2 parts sand to 1 part seed. Rake in lightly covering seeds to a maximum depth of 2-3 times their thickness. Or drag the area lightly with a piece of chain link fence to mix the seed into the surface of the soil. For seeding large areas over one acre, specially designed seed drills are most effective. Drill to a maximum of 1/4 inch and firm soil with a cultipacker; this maximizes seed/soil contact.

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Hydro Seeding Wildflowers

Hydro-seeders are also effective, especially for steep slopes, rocky terrain and other areas where conditions make it impractical for walking or driving equipment. Hydroseeding is the application of a slurry of seed and water to soil. The slurry may also contain mulch (hydro-mulching), a tackifier and fertilizer. Mulches are made of wood fiber, paper or excelsior, and their purpose is to hold seeds in place, help retain moisture and provide protection from erosion; mulches are usually dyed green as a visual aid in even distribution.

Hydro seeding Rates of application for most mulches are between 1500 and 2300 pounds per acre. In general, hydro-seeding / hydro-mulching is most successful in moist climates or in irrigated areas.   Most authorities agree that germination is better when WILDFLOWER seeds are applied first with 5 to 10% of the mulching fiber -- the balance at the mulch being applied separately as a second step. This approach ensures optimal seed/soil contact, otherwise, many wildflower seeds are wasted because they became suspended in the mulch fiber and do not germinate well in this location. It is important that proper procedures are followed to minimize the amount of time that seeds are circulated through pumps or paddles prior to application. Over-circulation may damage the wildflower seeds.

Moisture / Irrigation For Wildflowers

All seeds, including wildflowers, need ample moisture to germinate and to develop into healthy seedlings. Best results will be obtained by soaking the planted areas thoroughly and maintaining consistent moisture for 4 to 6 weeks -- then gradually reducing watering. In non-irrigated situations, plant in the spring or before periods at anticipated rainfall. After seedlings are established, watering may he reduced depending on the climate and rainfall. In arid climates or during drought conditions, up to 1/2 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.

Fertilization Of Wildflowers

Many wildflowers benefit from some fertilization if the soil does not have adequate nutrients. Some wildflowers do fine in poor soils while others require a more fertile environment. We recommend that a soil test be performed when soil quality is unknown. If the soil needs improvement, use a low nitrogen fertilizer with a 5-10-10 ratio or add organic matter such as weed-free straw or grass clippings, well rotted compost, peat moss, or leaf mold. In addition to adding nutrients, organic materials enhance the soil structure and encourage beneficial microorganisms. Avoid over-fertilizing which may promote weed growth and lush foliage rather than flowers.

Weed Control When Growing Wildflowers

Weed control ‘s the biggest problem facing plant establishment and one which has no easy solution. Weed seeds are present in many situations and lie dormant, but viable for long periods. A weedy area converted to wildflowers will have a large reservoir of weed seeds in the soil ready to germinate when conditions are favorable. In most cases it is advisable to consider weed control in two phases—as part of site preparation prior to planting, and as an important component of the post germination maintenance program.

Procedure for Wildflower Weed Control:

Before planting, remove existing weeds by pulling, tilling under, applying a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup®. or by a combination of these methods. For additional weed control after site preparation, a soil fumigant may he used, or the area may do irrigated to encourage weed growth and then sprayed with a general herbicide. In very weedy areas the following method is suggested:

  1. Till soil or spray vegetation with Roundup®. When using a herbicide, allow vegetation to die, then rake out the dead debris. If perennial weeds such as bindweed are present using an herbicide is more effective than tilling.
  2. Irrigate to encourage germination of weed seeds near the surface; most seeds will germinate within two weeks if consistent moisture a available. Do not till the soil again because this will bring even more weed seeds up to the surface, where they may germinate.
  3. Spray any new growth with Roundup®*.
  4. After raking out dead vegetation, allow soil to recover for 3 to 4 weeks before planting seed. From our experience, a recovery period at this duration a advisable because extensive use of glyphosate herbicides may cause a delay in germination and in the vigorous growth of new wildflower seedlings.

Weed Control After Germination Of Wildflowers

Once the wildflower seeds have germinated, further weed control is usually necessary. If practical, pull all weeds as soon as they can be identified. Other successful techniques are spot spraying with a general herbicide or selectively cutting weeds with a string trimmer. Be sure to remove weeds before they reseed.
Many unwanted annual and some perennial grasses can be controlled with herbicides. We do not recommend the use of chemicals to control weeds or grass as they have been shown to cause native bee and other pollinator population endangerment.

We do recommend that you seek natural and alternative methods to chemical usage for control of weeds and grass. Pollinators such as native bees and honey bees are important to the world's food crops as these species are responsible for the pollination of a good portion of agricultural crops. For more information please see our page on bee conservation.

If you insist on using chemicals to control weeds then :*Observe all precautions and follow manufacturers recommendations for applications of chemicals. Consult with your local cooperative extension agent concerning chemicals legal for use in your area and restrictions that must be observed.

What to Expect From Your Wildflower Garden or Meadow

Wildflowers can provide an excellent, low cost alternative in large-scale, high main­tenance situations, as well as a satisfying change from traditional urban landscaping. However, during their initial establishment period, wildflowers require as much maintenance as traditional plantings. A smooth, weed and vegetation-free planting bed is important for good seed-soil contact and prompt germination. Avoid seeding more than the recommended rate since overseeding can result in crowded conditions the first year and poor establishment of perennials. Cover seeds lightly to protect them from drying out during germination, and to prevent them from being eaten by birds. Consistent moisture is important for 4 - 6 weeks after planting.

A wildflower planting requires the same weed control measures as traditional land­scaping. Effective measures include site preparation prior to planting and a post- germination maintenance program. Most of our wildflower mixes contain annual, biennial and perennial species. The annuals, which may not be native to your area, are included to assure maximum color during the first season and to act as a nurse crop for the slower-growing perennials. Annuals germinate quickly when conditions are favorable, providing a quick ground cover and competition against weeds. Annuals may come back to a limited degree the second year but generally will not be as dense as first year plantings. Natural reseeding of annuals ranges from significant to minimal, depending on the species, cli­mate, soil texture and other factors.

Wildflowers Flocks Native Most perennial and biennial species begin to bloom the second season, but not as profusely as annuals. Therefore, wildflower plantings will look noticeably different after the first year. Perennials do not normally bloom the first year. Sometimes it is desirable or even necessary to sow seed in second and subsequent years. Reseeding may be necessary if establishment of wildflowers is spotty or poor. It is possible to reseed bare areas with the original mixture. Loosen soil of bare areas and provide adequate weed control and supplemental irrigation as needed. Where natural reseeding of annuals is minimal, sowing annuals each spring can produce a magnificent annual and perennial display throughout the growing season. If desired, wildflowers may be mowed in the fall following seed set. Mow to a height of 4-6 inches, and leave the residue on the ground because it is a reservoir of viable seeds.



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PHOTOGRAPHS / NOTE: The color of wildflowers viewed in digital pictures on this site will vary depending on the monitor used and display settings.  The actual grow-out color of any wildflower species will depend on many unknown variables including site fertility, weather, time of year, lighting effects for the time of day, etc. Colors of any one wildflower usually will vary in shade from pictures available on this site or from the same or similar wildflowers grown at different locations. While we make every effort to try and present the most likely true color of wildflowers on this site, pictures shown are not guaranteed to be true to color.
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Garden Flowers

List of Wildflowers Individual Species
180+ Different Wildflower Varieties

 
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180+ Varieties
of Wildflowers
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Alyssum, Carpet-Snow
Alyssum, Dwarf Sw Pink
Alyssum, Dwarf Sw.Pur.
Alyssum, Sweet
Aster, Bigelow's
Aster, China
Aster, Golden
Aster, New England
Aster, Prairie
Aster, Sky Blue
Aster, Smooth
Aster, White Upland
Baby Blue-Eyes
Baby's Breath, Annual
Baby's Breath, PER.
Balsamroot, Arrowleaf
Basket of Gold
Beardtongue, Nar. Lf
Beeplant, Rocky Mtn.
Bellflower, Tussock
Bergamot
Bird's Eyes
Bishop's Flower
Black-Eyed Susan
Black-Eyed Susan Sw.
Black-Eyed Susan vine
Blazing Star
Blazing Star, Rough
Blood Flower
Bluebell, California
Bluebonnet, Texas
Boneset
Bundleflower, Illinois
Calendula
Candytuft, Annual
Candytuft, Perennial
Catchfly
Catchfly, Nodding
Chamomile, Roman
Chicory
Chinese Forget-me-not
Chinese Houses
Clarkia
Clarkia, Deerhorn
Clover, Crimson
Clover, Prairie Purple
Clover, Prairie White
Clover, Round Bush
Columbine, Blue
Columbine, Dwarf
Columbine, Eastern
Columbine, Mix Colors
Compass Plant
Coneflower, Clasping
Coneflower, Cutleaf
Coneflower, Dwarf Red
Coneflower, Grey-Head
Coneflower, MexicanHat
Coneflower, Narrow-lf
Coneflower, Pale Purple
Coneflower, Prairie
Coneflower, Purple
Coneflower, Yellow
Coreopsis, Dwarf Lance
Coreopsis, Dwarf Plains
Coreopsis, Red Plains
Coreopsis, Lance-leaf
Coreopsis, Plains
Cornflower - Polka Dot
Cornflower, Blue
Cornflower, Dwarf Blue
Cosmos
Cosmos, Dwarf
Cosmos, Sulphur
Cup Plant
Daisy, African
Daisy, Creeping
Daisy, Dwarf Shasta
Daisy, Engleman
Daisy, English
Daisy, Fleabane
Daisy, Garland
Daisy, Gloriosa
Daisy, Ox-Eye
Daisy, Painted
Daisy, Shasta
Daisy, Sleepy
Daisy, Yellow
Dame's Rocket
Edelweiss
Five-Spot
Flax, Blue
Flax, Lewis
Flax, Scarlet
Forget-Me-Not
Four-O'clock
Foxglove

Gaillardia, Annual
Gaillardia, Per. Dwarf
Gaillardia, Perennial
Gaillardia, Yellow
Gaura
Gayfeather
Gayfeather, Thickspike
Gilia
Gilia, Globe
Gilia, Scarlet
Globemallow, Goose Lf
Globemallow, Scarlet
Godetia, Dwarf
Godetia, Lilac
Goldeneye, Showy
Goldenrod, Rigid
Golden Alexander
Goldfields
Greenthread
Hyssop, Lavender
Indian Paintbrush
Iris, Wild Blue
Ironweed, Prairie
Johnny Jump-Up
Larkspur, Rocket
Larkspur, Western
Leadplant
Lupine, Arroyo
Lupine, Mountain
Lupine, Per. Purple
Lupine, Russell
Lupine, Yellow
Mallow, Tree
Maltese Cross
Marigold, Desert
Marigold, French
Milkweed, Butterfly
Milkweed, Showy
Milkweed, Swamp
Mint, Lemon
Monkeyflower
Nodding Pink Onion
Partridge Pea
Penstemon, Palmer
Penstemon, Rocky Mtn.
Penstemon, Shelf-Leaf
Penstemon, Smooth
Petunia, Wild
Phlox, Ann. Mix Colors
Phlox, Mountain
Phlox, Red Annual
Pinks, Cottage
Pinks, Fringed
Pinks Maiden
Pinks, Sweet William
Poppy, Calif. Orange
Poppy, Corn
Poppy, Dwarf California
Poppy, Iceland
Poppy, Oriental
Poppy, Red Corn
Poppy, Calif.Mix Colors
Primrose, Com. Evening
Primrose, Dwarf Evening
Primrose, Pale Evening
Primrose, Showy Even.
Primrose, Tall Evening
Rattlesnake Master
Rockcress, Purple
Rockcress, White
Sage, Blue
Sage, Pitcher
Sage, Scarlet
Sagewort, Prairie
Snapdragon, Spurred
Sneezeweed, Autumn
Snow -in-summer
Soapwort
Spiderwort, Ohio
Spiderwort, Prairie
Stock, Virginia
Sunflower
Sunflower, Maximilian
Sunflower, Ox-Eye
Sweet Blk-Eyed Susan
Sweet Pea, Perennial
Thyme, Creeping
Tickseed, Leavenworth

Tidy-Tips
Trefoil, Bird's Foot
Verbena, Moss
Vervain, Blue
Vervain, Hoary
Wallflower, English
Wallflower, Siberian
Yarrow, Gold
Yarrow, Red
Yarrow, Western
Yarrow, White
Zinnia, Classic
Zinnia, Creeping
Zinnia, Pumila Mix

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