Sowing wildflowers 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 and 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 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 prefer low-nutrient soils.
2. What it is you want to achieve from sowing wildflowers
When sowing wildflower seeds, you might have a few ideas about what you want to achieve with a meadow. If you want to create a habitat for pollinators, 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 several options. A perennial/annual mix such as Meadow Magic is ideal for a longer-term ornamental meadow. 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 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 impact 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, a mix that contains no grass is more suitable if you wish to sow in a flower bed. Like lawn seed, different flowers are suited to different conditions, particularly soils and areas that suffer from the shade. Luckily, we’ve got a Clay Soils, Sandy Soils and Shaded Area mix which contain flowers perfect for each environment.
4. The best time of year for sowing wildflowers
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 grass seed mixes.
We have guides on how to create a wildflower meadow and a guide on how to look after your meadow throughout the year. And you can also find out more about wildflowers with our Wildflower FAQs.