How to plant wildflowers
If you are looking for a colorful addition to your landscaping design, you can’t go wrong with beautiful wildflower blooms. These are an excellent choice to improve the appearance of both larger yards, as well as smaller gardens. In order to ensure the health of the wildflowers you choose to plant, select types native to your area.
Certain factors can determine the perfect time to plant the wildflower seeds, such as the dormancy period of the seeds, the growth habit of the plant, the time when the rainy season starts in your region as well as the onset of heavy frost. Make sure not to plant the seeds during heavy frost or during the dormant period, or when in a waterlogged condition. Spring is perfect for planting annual or perennial wildflower types, and it is also a good time to plant biennial wildflowers. These can also be planted in the late summer or fall.
Dormant seeding can be performed during late fall for some types of wildflowers (wild carrot, sweet violet, clustered bellflower and so forth) because the low weather does not induce germination. When found in nature, the seeds endure the chill periods and the germination process begins under more favorable conditions the following year. You can mimic this process in your own yard by spreading compost over the seeds in cold temperatures during the dormant period in what is called stratification.
Growing and managing a wildflower garden can become a passionate hobby for some. Many assume that the process of caring for these plants is tough, when in fact it is very easy to grow wild species of flowers. The main reason why seasoned gardeners prefer sowing the seeds during the dormant stage in the late fall or in winter, is because they require a good contact with the soil to encourage germination.
To grow wildflowers in your garden the tricks are the same as for most plants, however you might encounter difficulties when purchasing the seeds. Most suppliers will mix in fillers and different grasses in the package and this can become a chore for the gardeners when removing the unwanted plants. Here are some instructions on planting wildflower seeds:
- For rockrose, sainfoin or bluebell, which have seeds with thick skin, quick germination can be obtained with a simple process of scarification, where you put the seeds between two sheets of sandpaper and rub them before sowing.
- Find out if the seeds require sowing in a seed tray, preparation which is necessary for most types of wildflowers. For instance, cornflower, violet, corn marigold or corn poppy seeds do not require this procedure and can be planted directly in the soil.
- If you need to plant the seeds directly in the soil, first check the size of the wildflower seeds and if you find that they are tiny with thin skin you can place them on the surface of the soil and leave them uncovered. If the seeds are larger, then you can place a layer of soil or compost on top of them.
- Use a rake to break up the soil about 1 inch deep and make sure to remove the weeds. Add some compost to the wildflower bed if necessary. If you decide to plant them on a larger scale, you can use a broadcast spreader and mix the seeds with a bulk material.
- For smaller regions you can spread them by hand in a straight line, press them into the soil and add water once in a while.
- If the seeds are first planted in a garden tray, add some good seed compost and sow them. For optimal conditions you can keep them in a glasshouse – if one is available. To ensure the easy sprouting of the seeds, make sure that the environment is full of moisture.
- Depending on the seeds you choose to plant, the germination can occur either within a few weeks or even in the course of several months. If the seeds require stratification, they are planted in the late fall in order to sprout in the spring of the following year.
- Wait for the plant to grow 3 leaves for those sown in trays before transplanting them, in the meantime preparing the garden beds by removing the weeds, loosening up the soil and adding compost.
If you select appropriate seeds from your particular area and meet the basic needs of the plants, they will develop beautifully. Moreover, you can have a constant supply of wildflowers, by keeping viable seeds to plant during the next season.
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