As you may have read in our Stratification post this week, wildflowers do very well when planted in the fall because some germinate best when stratified. There is a chance of the seed being eaten by the wildlife, however areas with snow cover and less wildlife around tend to do just fine.
Wildflower gardening is very easy with a great reward. The first step to creating a wildflower garden is to identify what kind of flowers will do best in your area. If you live in a warm climate, spring may be the best season for you to plant. If you are in an area with a cool winter that gets snow cover you could plan and plant your garden as soon as this week.
After planning what you will plant in your wildflower garden select an area and prepare the soil. Wildflowers need at least 6-8 hours of light. Avoid areas with a lot of shade cover in the afternoon. Clear out debris and thick weeds. Wildflowers can outcompete weeds but it is best to give them as much of an advantage as possible. Be sure to lightly break up the soil surface. When you are ready, scatter your seeds and compress them into the soil (don’t bury or cover).
After planting water to maintain a moist soil that is not soaked, unless planting in the fall. You will want to make sure they are well watered until reaching at least 6” tall. For a fall planting compress the seeds after planting and walk away until spring. You will not want to water at all since you are mimicking the natural process of stratification. Depending on how much precipitation your area receives in the spring you may need to supplement with regular watering.
Some of our favorite fall planting wildflowers include poppy, coreopsis, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, lupine, sweet Alyssum, blue flax, linaria, borage, and forget-me-not. Or you can always plant a mixture.
Remember, you can rest easy planting in the fall as long as your soil temperatures have dipped to 55 °F or below since this will prevent the seed from germinating until spring. Having a blanket of snow covering them soon after planting is just an added bonus.
For easier wildflower sowing, check out our complete selection of Wildflower Seeds to plant in your garden this winter, or try an easy assortment for bright, beautiful, spring color!