A field of wildflowers is a magical place; filled with color and busy with the sight and sounds of all sorts of creatures going about the day’s business. It’s such a soothing scene, it’s easy to wish that you could have a meadow of your very own, right in your own backyard. The good news is, you can!
Even if you only have a small plot available for planting, you can transform it into a mini-meadow. Better yet, on a large scale, a wildflower patch could be the lowest-maintenance garden you’ll ever plant. As wildflower enthusiasts like to say, “If you can grow weeds, you can grow wildflowers.” Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Choose a Location
You don’t need a huge meadow to have a wildflower garden: Any space with decent drainage and at least six hours of sun a day will do. Plant wildflowers:
- Instead of lawns.
- Between property borders.
- Surrounding a deck.
- In an open bed.
2. Remove Weeds
No need to amend the soil: Some of the most beautiful wildflowers appear in rocky banks along the side of the highway. If anything at all is growing in the place you’d like to plant, so will wildflowers. Do remove as best you can any weeds before you plant.
3. Select Native Plant Seeds
Pick a wildflower mix with plants native to your area. Many companies and garden centers offer wildflower seed mixes, often featuring plants that do well in your region. If you’re unsure, check with a local agriculture extension office for advice.
4. Sow the Wildflower Seeds
Scatter a mix of annual and perennial wildflower seeds in your space. Annuals should be planted after all danger of frost has passed. Perennials can be planted at the same time and anytime through September. Learn the difference between annuals and perennials here.
- Spring-planted annuals will bloom the first year and should be reseeded every spring.
- Perennials probably won’t flower the first year, but you’ll be able to count on them for many years to follow.
5. Tamp the Scattered Seeds
Don’t cover the wildflower seed with dirt or fertilize. Simply tamp the seeds down by walking over the areas you’ve seeded.
6. Water the Seeded Area
You’ll still have to water, but not much. When you first plant your wildflower garden, water as you would a new lawn. Once the seeds have achieved around four inches (5cm) of growth, no more watering is necessary. Wildflowers will thrive on the natural rainfall.
7. Weed, as Needed
You’ll still have to weed, but not much. Some wildflowers are classified as weeds, so it can be difficult to know what needs to get yanked out. A good rule of thumb is to pull those plants that grow in clumps instead of evenly spread through your garden bed–those intermittent interlopers were probably not sown by you.
Benefits of a Wildflower Patch
- Within a year of putting in a wildflower garden, you’ll notice an uptick in the birds, bees, and beneficial insects visiting your garden.
- You’ll also have plenty of flowers for bouquets, as wildflowers are prolific bloomers.
- In your new wildflower meadow, you’ll discover an extremely low maintenance flower bed that may just turn into the focal piece of your landscape.
Do you know which wildflowers you want to grow in your meadow? Share the top plant on your wish list below and why it’s your first pick.