How to sow wildflower seeds

How to sow wildflower seeds

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 when deciding what wildflower mix to choose!

1) First, choose your wildflower seed mix wisely

The first step in knowing how to sow wildflower seeds is to pick your seed mix. With many options in the world of wildflower seed mixes, choosing what seeds suit your garden can seem like a bit of a challenge, but fear not! We are here to help and have blended our seed mixes perfectly so there is something to suit everyone.

For example, some of our wildflower seed mixes contain grasses, and some do not, and this will ultimately influence how your wildflowers will appear when they bloom and how they affect the wildlife they attract to your garden.

To get the best wildflower seed mix for your garden, start by working out the size of the area you plan to sow and looking at the conditions of the growing area. For example, consider if the seedbed area is covered by shade throughout the day or if it suffers from clay soils. Keep reading for more information on deciding what wildflowers are best for your garden.

What wildflower seeds should I sow?

Wildflowers possess the ability to flourish almost anywhere, but certain seed varieties can adapt to certain growing situations better than others. Since our wildflower seed mixes feature British wildflowers found on the RHS Plants for Pollinators list, they are guaranteed to flourish in your UK garden!

We also have specialist wildflower seed mixes that are ideal for growing in areas of your garden covered in shade (similar to flowers you would find growing in a forest or woodland). Our specialist seeds also feature wildflowers that grow exceptionally in clay and sandy soils.

Another thing to note is that wildflowers' growing conditions 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 - but since our wildflowers are stored in cold conditions all year round, they are already perfect for planting and growing.

2) Then, decide when should I sow wildflower seeds?

We recommend planting wildflowers during the sowing season - generally from March - October - and you should see the wildflowers blooming around 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 appear in early spring. For the best results (quickest turnaround), sow in early autumn to have your wildflowers in bloom by spring. 

Why should I sow wildflowers in spring?

In the springtime, temperatures are on the rise, and frequent rain showers will undoubtedly bless your gardens. These elements will converge to establish optimal conditions for the germination of your seeds. You can expect your blossoms to appear within a span of 60 to 90 days from sowing. As summer approaches, your garden will transform into a vibrant tapestry of hues, bustling with the vibrant activity of wildlife.

Why consider sowing wildflowers in autumn?

Opting for an autumn sowing will typically see your wildflowers appearing during the onset of the following spring. This assurance of a complete and vibrant bloom sets the stage for delightful summer evenings basking in the sun's glow! Another benefit of sowing this time of year is the swift decline in the population of pests and birds in your local area as autumn progresses, resulting in fewer challenges for your wildflower seeds to contend with.

3) How to prepare the area for sowing wildflower seeds

Now you've completed the first two steps for how to sow wildflower seeds, we recommend removing any existing grass, weeds and flora from the area, as this will prevent the seed from establishing. You should then:

  • 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 topsoil, 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 six weeks after sowing

4) Finally, aftercare tips on how to sow wildflower seeds

I’ve sown my wildflower seed in April / May (spring)

In August / September of the first year, you have sown your wildflower seed and 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 add fertiliser or add topsoil to this area – wildflowers prefer poor soil conditions, and this is how they should stay.

Annual Wildflowers Seed Saving

  • 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, ensure 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, and remove all clippings unless you want your annuals to return.

If you wish for your annual wildflowers to reappear 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.

Our Wildflowers Help & Advice section features guides and tips to help you get the most out of your wildflower meadow. Adding to this, our Wildflowers FAQs include many frequently asked questions from our customers.