Low field Wildflower lawns, high field meadows and the vast majority of wildflower varieties can be successfully sown now. Early through Late Spring is one of the most ideal times of the year to start sowing wildflower seed. Wildflowers are so hardy and versatile that they can be sown, with care, at almost any time. Spring and Autumn sowings are usually the easiest and most successful.
Sowing wildflower seed is very much like starting a lawn or sowing a patch of flowers or vegetables in the garden.
Choose a sunny site where the soil drains reasonably well. This could be a broad area like a bank, hillside, part of a lawn, along a path or roadway, or small patches within an existing border or garden. Even large tubs will work but may require more watering.
As with most things, the more time spent in preparation, the better the result.
Wildflowers will grow on a wide variety of soils. Once the soil is sufficiently warmed and is workable, start cultivating the land. For best results, the growing area should be well-cultivated ahead of time. The soil must be loose and open, but does not have to be deeply dug.
If the idea is to grow wildflowers in an existing border or between shrubberies, cultivate and turn the soil at least 2.5cm/1 inch deep.Deeper cultivation improves results as this allows deeper root penetration. This helps protect the windflowers against drought and wind damage. On very poor soil it is sometimes easier to add compost or top soil over the existing ground and sow directly into that.
The land should be fertilized ahead of sowing; plus freed of any invasive weeds. Sprinkle a light dusting of a general fertiliser such as 20-20-20 over the cultivated area and water or work this into the soil. To save time, the fertiliser can be dusted first and then cultivated into the ground.
Once the site is prepared, the wildflower seed can be broadcast over the area where they are meant to grow. If a large area is being sown, simply disperse the seed as evenly as possible just like with lawn seed.
Where invasive weeds could be a problem, it is sometimes wiser to sow wildflowers in long, parallel rows. This way, it will be much easier to identify the wildflowers as they spring up in the row. Later any invasive weeds can be cultivated out from between the rows.
Individual varieties of wildflowers can also be sown in matches much like sowing a Carrot patch.
It is often best to place a marker in the midst of each patch or row to identify what has been sown there.
With mixed seed, it is best to let most everything come up and have a chance to get started before attempting to eliminate any potential weed.
When matches of an individual variety or a few varieties are sown together, it soon becomes obvious which are the abundant wildflower seedlings that all look the same and what are itinerant weeds.
The seed can be raked in or covered with a thin layer of compost or mulch (fine bark chips; pea or wheat straw, etc.) Once seed is covered and sown, water it in gently so that the seeds settle firmly into the soil. In larger areas, best results often come from sowing the seed just before a good rainfall.
Some Wildflower mixes can be somewhat erratic to germinate but early-flowering varieties in the mix usually germinate fairly rapidly. Normally, most of the seed should have sprouted within two weeks. Early flowering varieties often show their first blooms in 10-14 weeks, dependent upon local environmental conditions.
While individual wildflower varieties usually will bloom for at least a few weeks to a few months, a good mix can produce blooms over much of the growing season. With careful selection in milder climates, it is possible to have wildflowers blooming throughout the year.
Once they finish flowering, either cut or mow them down. If the plants are allowed to die off naturally, their seed can be collected and saved for the next sowing. Wherever the land can be re-cultivated and opened, when their seed falls upon the freshened earth the next generation of wildflowers will soon sprout.
Wildflower World has just released their spring catalogue of seed. This is a fabulous resource that provides the best quality seed at very reasonable prices.
In recent trials at the Quarter Acre Paradise Gardens between other leading seed companies, Wildflower World scored the highest for quality and especially quantity of seed at the very lowest price.
How to contact Wildflower World:
155 First Avenue West
Private Bag 3143
Phone: (07) 9284517
Fax: (07) 9284518