How to Grow Wildflower Seeds

How to Grow Wildflower Seeds

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide To Growing Wildflower Seeds

Are you looking to create your own beautiful meadow flower garden? Creating your own idyllic space with wildflower seeds can seem daunting, but in this handy step-by-step guide, we will take you through the journey to planting the ultimate outdoor area.

Location, location, location

Before you can think about planting your wildflower seed mixes, it’s first important to choose the right location. The good news is meadow flower gardens can grow just about anywhere that gets a minimum of four to six hours of sunlight a day and where there’s good soil drainage, although it’s important to remember that wildflower seeds will not grow well in areas with established lawns or where there are weeds due to competition. 

For the best results, you should aim to plant your wildflower seed mixes in the Autumn or Spring. 

How to grow wildflower seeds

Once you have found the ideal location to create your outdoor retreat, what are the steps to growing wildflower seeds?

Step one: Measure and order  

The first step is to measure your garden area and determine how many grams of seeds you will need. We recommend between 2-3 grams per square metre, although for areas that are lower in quality or do not have easy access to water, that should increase to 3-4 grams.

Exceeding the recommended amount increases competition, which can decrease the number of species appearing, while too little will lead to patches and sparse areas. As a rule of thumb, here is our seed sowing rate guide:

  • 1m2: 2-3g of seeds
  • 10m2: 20-30g of seeds
  • 100m2: 200-300g of seeds
  • 1 acre: 8,100-12,150g of seeds

Step two: Preparation 

Preparation is essential to the success of a wildflower garden, and tools such as a sod cutter and rototiller, alongside methods such as solarisation/smothering and organic herbicides, will help you to remove weeds and debris. Be as thorough as possible in this process, removing all visible signs of weeds and existing grasses to maximise the growth of your seeds.

This can be a time-consuming process, so to help you we recommend placing dampened ‘black ink’ newspaper and moistened brown cardboard over the area. This starves the weeds and remaining plants of sunlight, killing them off and making it easier to remove them. If you are still struggling to contain the growth, then organic weed killers such as Slasher Weedkiller or Weedmaster Argo can be very effective. Winter is an ideal time to prepare the ground to ensure it is ready for Spring sowing. 

Once you are confident all of the weeds and debris have been cleared from your chosen area, you can begin to think about planting your wildflower seeds. Before you do, we recommend adding nutrients to your soil, such as mushroom compost or mature cow manure, as this will help to create the perfect setting for your new seeds, allowing them to thrive from the start.  

Step three: Sow your seeds

Wildflower seeds can be very fine and delicate, so we strongly recommend using a Grade 3 Vermiculite as your carrier. Not only is this non-toxic and safe for the environment, but it will also keep your seeds warm and moist, ensuring they are primed for planting. It’s also important to remember not to combine different seed mixes as they may contain contributing species, forcing species to begin competing with each other and impacting overall growth.  

Top Tip: For every 2g of seed, use around 20g of vermiculite. If your seedbed exceeds 50m2, add 10% to your vermiculite quantity.

Mix your wildflower seeds and vermiculite into a container and mix well. Lightly moistening this mix will ensure they stick together, helping to ensure even spreading throughout. Next, divide your area into small plots and divide your seed mix into evenly measured portions for each plot.  

Start spreading the seed mix using the crosshatching method. Spread half of the seed and carrier mixture across the entire site using your hand, moving in a north to south direction. Then, distribute the second half of the mixture by hand, this time walking perpendicular to your initial seeding direction, from east to west.

Once spread evenly, it’s important to start compressing them into the soil to maximise contact. Compression helps to encourage germination by ensuring each seed is able to access the moisture and nutrients it needs to start growing – but it is important to remember not to cover the seeds, but just compress them into the ground. The process also helps to anchor the root system and prevents the seeds from being displaced by water.

In small areas, you can use your feet to compress the soil, but for larger areas, you should lay cardboard or plywood over the soil and walk over it evenly. For big plots, a seed roller can be an effective tool.  

Step four: Protecting your seedling

To protect your seeds, add a thin layer of sugar cane mulch, which will help to retain moisture and prevent them from being targeted by birds. Be careful not to spread it too thickly, as this can prevent sunlight reaching your seeds and prevent them from germinating.  

Step 5: Watering

Water is essential for plant growth, so be sure to water yours regularly. As wildflower seeds are not buried in wet soil, they require more attention than other types of plants, so be sure to keep the soil moist throughout the germination and early stages of growth.

An irrigation system can take the hassle away by ensuring a constant and regular supply of water for your wildflower seeds. However, if this isn’t possible, then you should be aiming to water your budding garden twice a day (increasing this during hot and dry weather).

Step 6: Aftercare

Your wildflower seed mixes should start sprouting within six weeks, depending on weather and soil quality. As they start growing, it can be easy to confuse wildflowers as weeds, so during the early stages, avoid the temptation to pull them out until you are 100% certain. If you are unsure, use a plant identification app or try a Google Reverse Image Search.

You should hand-pull any weeds that you do find, although chemical herbicides such as Fusillade forte 128EC can be effective, just be sure to read the instructions carefully to ensure correct application.   

Seeds are also a target for birds, chooks in particular, so be conscious of any wildlife targeting your new garden during those early weeks. Discourage them whenever possible and add deterrents if the problem persists. You should also be ensuring that you keep your soil well-populated with nutrients and water.

Step 7: Maintenance

Annual flowers will flower for one season only, while perennials will flower year after year, although some annuals may self-seed and reappear in following seasons. Annual mixes are a fantastic choice for gardeners looking for the flexibility to update their garden each year, and they are a great way to make existing meadows lusher and more vibrant.

If you’ve planted a mix of annuals and perennials, you can cut the annuals down to around 15cm above the ground during the autumn months to encourage the perennials to take over the following season. After mowing, we recommend sowing an annual-only mix to fill up any patches and ensure a full appearance the next year.

Finally, don’t forget to regularly weed the area as well to ensure your wildflower meadow can thrive in a competition-free garden.

Need help with your garden?

If you’re looking to create your own gorgeous wildflower garden, then our team at Meadow Flowers is here to help! We have a wide range of seeds available to purchase or get in touch with our experienced gardeners, who will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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