Can I sow wildflowers in winter?

Can I sow wildflowers in winter?
Can I sow wildflowers in winter?
Spring and autumn are hailed as the best times to sow wildflower seeds and for good reason – but if you have left your sowing a little late you may be wondering if there’s still an opportunity to add your wildflower seeds in now.

Check your forecast

The main reason for sowing in autumn is so you can get a spring show of wildflowers - as a later sowing will result in a later showing. Colder temperatures in autumn also help to kickstart your wildflower seeds germination, as they undergo a process called ‘stratification’. Our wildflower seeds are kept in cold conditions all year round, so this step is already complete.

However, some wildflower mixes do contain grass seed and they require temperatures of 8-10 degrees and above to germinate. We would recommend avoiding sowing mixes that contain grass if temperatures drop lower than 8-10 degrees where you are.

If you plan to sow a 100% wildflower mix such as our Annuals or Meadow Magic, you should then consider how they will establish. The success of your wildflowers establishing will depend on the prep work carried out beforehand – this means removing all grass, weeds and flora from the area where you plan to sow, also ensuring that your soil is not compact to enable good seed to soil contact. This can become difficult if the ground is frosty, frozen or if you have clay soils that often become wet and boggy in winter. As this prep is essential to the successful establishment of your wildflowers, you should consider if you are able to carry out the prep work and if you are giving your wildflowers the best opportunity for growth. Before planning to sow in winter, check the weather in your area for forecasted frost, ice or snow. If temperatures are mild and you are confident you can do your prep work before snow sets in, then aim to sow your wildflower seed for a late spring / early summer showing.

Avoid until spring

Clay soils can become very wet and marsh like during the winter making them difficult to work with / prepare. In addition, any seeds sitting in water for a long period of time will become saturated, will rot and may not germinate. If you have clay soils avoid sowing wildflower seed in winter and wait until they dry out and become easier to prepare. Avoid sowing wildflower mixes with grass unless temperatures are above 8-10 degrees. If your local area is experiencing frosts, frozen ground or snow this winter then also avoid sowing until the ground is warms up again - as soil will need to be loose to ensure good seed to soil contact.

Although wildflowers typically require a 'freeze' to kickstart their germination, avoid sowing them in compact or frozen soil.

In summary, if you want to sow wildflower seed in winter here's what you should consider:

  • Check the weather where you are - avoid sowing if frost or snow is forecast
  • Make sure you will be able to prep the area ensuring that grass and weeds are removed and that your soil is not compact. If you have clay soils that are typically wet and boggy in winter, avoid sowing as seeds may rot
  • If the weather is mild, your soil is prepared and you do plan to sow - sow a 100% wildflower mix as mixes that contain grass will need temperatures of 8-10 degrees and above to germinate