How to sow wildflower seeds in your garden

How to sow wildflower seeds in your garden
How to sow wildflower seeds in your garden
Wildflowers add a great variety of vibrant and versatile blooms to your garden, but that is not the only thing they offer! They are also a vital food source for bees and pollinators and provide year-round habitat for local wildlife, especially birds.

We have outlined the best seed sowing methods and seed mixes that are ideal when introducing wildflowers into your garden. We also advise when to plant wildflower seeds in the UK - please read below for more information:

When is the Best Time to Sow Wildflower Seeds?

Autumn is the best time to sow wildflower seeds. Planting wildflower seeds during this season gives you the earliest display of wildflowers the following year. However, wildflower seeds can be planted throughout the year and will begin to bloom around 60-80 days. Be aware that it may be the case that your newly-planted wildflower seeds do not bloom until after their first winter season.

  1. Growing wildflowers is a lot easier in poor soil conditions. To do this, you prepare your area of choice by starving the soil of nutrients. You could also choose a location in your garden that is already deficient in nutrients, not growing anything or is disused. 
  2. Additionally, you can reduce soil fertility further by stripping away the top 5-10 cm of soil.
  3. Remove all existing grass, plants, flora and weed for successful germination. If you do not, they will stunt the establishment and growth of your wildflower seeds.
  4. Dig the soil over and firm it down before raking to create a level seed bed.
  5. Sow the wildflower seed either by hand or with a seed spreader. We recommend sowing the wildflower seed at a rate of 5g per m2 of soil. If using a spreader, please look at the manufacturer's instructions for the correct setting.
  6. Cover the newly seeded area of your garden with netting to protect it from birds.
  7. Ensure you keep the soil moist during hot, dry periods for the best germination.

Extra Tips

  • When preparing the soil, avoid using fertilisers.
  • After you have readied the soil for planting, we recommend allowing the soil to settle for up to 6 weeks. 
  • For the most promising growth, it is vital that the soil is warm and does not dry out.
  • Ensure you water your soil regularly, especially if there is a hot or dry weather spell.

Selecting the Best Seeds for You

Although wildflowers can grow virtually anywhere, some seed types grow better in a wide range of conditions than others. The wildflower mix you choose will affect your wildflower meadow's performance when planting wildflower seeds in the UK (and in similar temperate climates). Please note that wildflower seed mixes which do not contain grass will provide an ornamental display but will not offer a year-round habitat for wildlife.

Wildflower Mixes for Normal Soil Types in Non-Shaded Areas 

  • Annuals Mix (does not include grass) – contains the nation's favourite cornfield annuals for an ornamental display.
  • Meadow Magic (does not include grass) - contains a mix of UK native annuals and perennials for an ornamental display.
  • Flowering Meadow (includes grass) – contains a mixture of UK native annuals and perennials that are RHS Plants for Pollinators approved as well as complimenting arable grasses.
  • Bees and Pollinators (includes grass) - contains a mixture of UK native annuals and perennials that are excellent at attracting bees and pollinators and are RHS Plants for Pollinators approved. This mix also contains complimenting arable grasses.

Wildflower Mixes for Shaded Areas

  • Shaded Area Wildflowers (includes grass) - contains UK native annual and perennial wildflowers that are shade tolerant and can be typically found growing naturally in forested areas.

Wildflower Mixes for Problematic Soils

  • Heavy Clay Soil Wildflower (includes grass) – contains UK native annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive in clay soils, also contains complementing arable grasses.
  • Sandy Soil Wildflower (includes grass) – contains UK native annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive in sandy soils, and also contains complementing arable grasses.

For more information on how to manage your wildflower meadow, please read our guide here.