Wildflowers are well known and renowned for their low maintenance characteristics which make them a very attractive addition to most gardens. Whilst they require a little bit of initial prep work most of your effort will be required at the deciding stage of what wildflower mix to go for.
First, choose your wildflower mix wisely
Although that sounds slightly foreboding, we do recommend speaking to experts like ourselves about what mix you should go for. Some of our mixes contain grasses and some do not, and this will ultimately influence how your wildflowers will appear. By getting an understanding of the size of the area you plan to sow, the conditions of the area (if it is shaded or suffering from clay soils) we can advise you on the best mix for you.
When should I sow?
Wildflowers are different from grass in that they don't require a certain temperature to germinate, in fact, a freeze helps to break their dormancy and kickstart germination. Sowing season is generally from March - October, with wildflowers blooming 60-80 days after they've been sown. Sowing in early spring (March / April) will give you a showing of the annuals in your mix in summer, and sowing in early autumn (September / October) will help them in appear in early spring. For the best results (quickest turnaround) sow in early autumn to have your wildflowers in bloom by spring.
Preparing the area
If you've completed the first two steps, when sowing any wildflower mix, we recommend removing any existing grass, weeds and flora from the area as this will prevent the seed from establishing. You should then:
● Further remove the top 5-10cm to reduce soil fertility
● Allow the area to cultivate for several weeks, and remove any weeds that may pop in the area during this time
● Do not be tempted to add top soil, compost or fertiliser to the area - wildflowers prefer low nutrient conditions
● After the cultivation period ensure to remove stones or any other debris and rake the area to create a fine, friable and level seedbed
● Scatter the seed at a rate of 5g per m2
● Rake the seed so that it is in amongst the soil
● Water the just-sown wildflower seed well
● If sowing in drought conditions, water as required to keep the area moist in the first 6 weeks after sowing
I’ve sown my wildflower seed in April / May (spring)
In August / September of the first year you have sown your wildflower seed, cut your wildflower sward to 7cm after flowering – you can do this by putting your mower on a high setting. In most cases remove clippings* (Note: a late spring sowing will result in late flowering). Do not be tempted fertilise or add top soil to this area – wildflowers prefer poor soil conditions, and this is how they should stay. Continue this same process, year after year. *If you have annual wildflowers in your mix and you do not wish them to return the following year, remove the clippings. If you want your wildflowers to return the following year - let them go to seed head, and manually assist their self-seeding by firming the seed heads into the soil. By doing this, your annuals will return the following year.
I’ve sown my wildflower seed in September / October (autumn)
In March / April of the first year of sowing your wildflower seed, make sure there is sufficient material to mow – your wildflowers / grasses should be at a height of 10cm. If your wildflowers are at this height, mow to 7cm no later than mid-April, as this will delay their blooming process. In August / September, after they have bloomed, cut your wildflower meadow again to 7cm, remove all clippings unless you want your annuals to return. If you wish for your annual wildflowers to make a reappearance the following spring, follow the process above by letting the seed heads drop into the soil, and give them a helping hand by firming them into the soil.