Sowing and maintaining a wildflower meadow is one of the simplest and most rewarding gardening tasks you can undertake but there are a few things that are useful to know before venturing into the world of wildflowers.
1. Removal of weeds / grass / debris
Wildflowers cope well with poor soil conditions but can struggle if sown where other plants or weeds are present. The best thing to do is clear the area totally and remove any debris that might prevent the flowers from germinating correctly. An additional piece of advice is to remove 5-10cm of topsoil as this is usually quite high in nutrients and unlike lawn grass, wildflowers actually prefer low nutrient soils.
2. What it is you want to achieve
When sowing wildflowers, you might have a few ideas about what you want to achieve with a meadow. If you want to create a habitat for pollinators, then look no further than our Bees and Pollinators mix. This mix of wildflowers is recommended by the Royal Horticulture Society and can be found on their Plants for Pollinators list.
If you’d prefer something purely ornamental there are a number of different options to choose from. For a longer-term ornamental meadow, a perennial / annual mix such as Meadow Magic is ideal, whereas a mix comprised of annuals is great for those only looking for a showing over one season. Some mixtures also contain wild grasses whilst some are 100% wildflower so be sure to check which of these meet your requirements before making any decisions.
3. The size and type of area
The area you plan to sow wildflowers in can also have an impact on the particular mix that’s right for you. For larger areas a mix containing grass is ideal as it prevents weeds from cropping up between the plants. Alternatively, if you wish to sow in a flower bed a mix that contains no grass is more suitable. Much like lawn seed, different flowers are suited to different conditions particularly soils and areas that suffer from shade. Luckily, we’ve got a Clay Soils, Sandy Soils and Shaded Area mix which contain flowers perfect for each environment.
4. The time of year
The 'best' time to sow wildflowers is in autumn, as this will produce the fastest display for you resulting in a showing in spring. Spring is also a great time to sow as there will be a showing in late summer of the first year, although you will miss out on the spring bloom. The main thing to note is that winter sowing isn’t recommended, as low temperatures can affect germination in mixes which contain grass seed.