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Wildflower 101: FAQ About Wildflowers

All of your frequently asked questions about wildflowers, answered!

Do wildflowers come back every year?

There are two main types of wildflowers – annuals and perennials. Perennials are well known for coming back each year but take longer to establish. Annuals appear 60-80 days after sowing, but typically only have one showing. However, you can see them again the following year – if you do your prep. Annuals go to seed head each autumn and drop seeds into the soil. They are self-seeding, and almost self-sufficient but unfortunately, their process is not perfect – they need a bit of a helping hand. You can manually assist this process by putting your mower on a high setting or cutting the wildflowers down. Then use a roller (if you’re fancy!) or your wellies to split the seed heads up to allow more seeds to get into the soil. This will result in a full annual showing in the following year.

How long does it take for wildflowers to grow from seed?

This depends on the time of year that you decide to sow your wildflower seed. Wildflowers will begin their growth process after a couple of weeks, but you won’t see any blooms until spring. You will, however, see the beginnings of small plants starting to grow (pictured below). Annuals will start to flower from April onwards. Perennials will bloom when they’re good and ready, and this process can take up to a year or longer – although you may notice their long stems have been around in your wildflower meadow for a while. If you have sown wildflower seeds and find some aren’t blooming and would like to know what they are, you can always send us an email at expert@thegrasspeople.com for us to identify.

Is it too late to plant wildflower seeds?

There are two times of year that we recommend sowing wildflower seeds – in autumn September / October, or in spring April / May. Of course, you can technically sow wildflower seeds anytime of year (although winter isn’t advisable) but you may be disappointed by the long wait for anything to appear. By planting in autumn / spring you can also follow our wildflower meadow management guide to a T – otherwise, it may be a bit of guess work.

When to plant wildflower seeds UK?

If there was a divine guide to sowing wildflower seeds, most experts would recommend sowing wildflowers in autumn as typically the seeds need to undergo the process of stratification (a freeze) to kick start their germination. At The Grass People, we keep our seeds in cold conditions all year round so you can sow them in spring too. Delaying from September / October, April / May recommended sowing times shouldn’t greatly affect your wildflower meadow, but it is advisable to avoid sowing in winter.

Should I mow wildflowers?

Yes, mowing your wildflower meadow down at the end of the season is important to maintaining it. We have a full guide on how to manage your wildflower meadow whether you’ve sown it in autumn or spring.

Are wildflowers easy to grow?

Wildflowers are relatively easy to grow, as long as they are given the correct conditions to grow in. The key thing about wildflowers is that they will need to grow where nothing else is growing – this is why you will see wildflowers cultivate naturally on road verges where they’ve been left to their own devices, and areas that are largely unkept. If you plan on sowing wildflowers, you will need to select an area and remove all grass, flora, weeds and any debris or obstructing objects from it to make way for wildflowers. Wildflowers don’t need much attention in terms of watering, fertilising, or food – but they do need adequate space to grow.

Can you plant wildflower seeds in autumn?

Autumn is an ideal time to plan wildflower seeds for many reasons! Here’s a few: Autumn is a great time to sow wildflower seeds, mainly because there is less time to wait until you see them in spring! People are often disappointed with the long wait if they sow mid-summer, but unfortunately, we're all on wildflower time and they bloom when they are ready! Autumn and winter also create perfect growing conditions for wildflowers as extra moisture in the air is absorbed by the seed, as well as a winter frost will help to break the dormancy of the newly sown wildflower seeds and assist in the speed of germination - although having said that, we keep our wildflower seeds in cold conditions all year round - so they are pretty much ready to go! There is a reduction in the risk of birds damaging wildflower seedbeds due to migration and the availability of other food during winter and it is also more likely to rain in autumn meaning there is less of a need to water your plants as nature will take its course.

Can wildflowers grow in shade?

Some wildflowers are very good at growing in the shade – if you think of a woodland forest, they are often filled with Bluebells that are able to grow in little light. Wildflowers will grow just about anywhere, but some are better at growing in certain conditions than others. Our Shaded Area wildflower mix is full of shade tolerant wildflowers that will thrive in these conditions.

Can I sow wildflower seeds in grass?

It is very difficult to establish wildflowers in existing grass, whether it’s in your lawn or in a field. Of course, you can attempt it, but it will produce varying results. For this reason, we do not recommend trying to establish wildflowers in existing grass. Grass you typically find in a lawn has most likely been fertilised and well looked after throughout the years – this means it is extremely fertile and high nutrient, not ideal conditions for wildflowers. If you were to sow wildflower seeds in grass, the grass would most likely choke out the wildflowers, producing very low levels of germination.

How can I add a wildflower meadow to my garden?

There are a few ways you can add a mini meadow to your garden without it taking over your whole lawn. You can do this by creating a border around your lawn or creating a space for a bed. The best way to do this is by removing any grass / flora / debris that is already existing in the area where you wish to sow your wildflower seed, as it will prevent the growth of the wildflower seeds. In addition, typical garden flora and grass need fertile conditions whilst wildflowers prefer poor soil conditions – so the two should never try to co-exist in the same patch.

Will my wildflower meadow look the same each year?

The short answer is no. Your wildflower meadow will not look identical each year. There are a number of factors that will influence how your meadow will appear including soil conditions, weather conditions and the space your wildflowers will have to grow. Some wildflowers will thrive in the conditions you provide them with and others may not do so well. After all, they’re wild things and make their own rules!

If we've missed any questions, you can always email us at expert@thegrasspeople.com to get the answer.

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