Wildflowers are breathtaking in the spring when they paint the hills with orange California poppies, pink and lavender lupines, white salvias, and golden yarrow.
They bloom just in time for migrating butterflies and ever-hungry hummingbirds to feast on their
Orange, purple, yellow, red, the colors of the rainbow are on display. The more rain an area has experienced, the more extravagant the hues.
Thank God, Los Angeles experienced enough rain this season to take us out of “Drought” status!
It’s easy to sow wildflower seeds in the ground because there isn’t much soil preparation besides starting with weed-free soil!
I take you through the process, step by step on my Youtube video!
SELECTING WILDFLOWER SEEDS
Every area has wildflowers that are native or endemic to the region. Commercial wildflower mixes are available online as well as at local garden centers.
Sometimes you will fine wildflower seed mixes for sale in unmarked manilla envelopes, packaged by a local gardener.
Those are fun to try!
Read the seed ingredient list!
Make sure the perennial plants on the list are hardy to your garden zone.
For instance, the California Wildflower mix I sowed in zone 9 has yarrow, ecchinacea, and penstemon which are all hardy and safe in my winter climate.
There will be a mix of annual and perennial plants. The annual plants will bloom the first year while the perennials will not flower until the second year, and thereafter.
It’s important for a wildflower mix to have a good ratio of annual to perennial seeds so that after the first year’s blooms, you have more to look forward to next year.
While the annuals will technically flower and die during the first year, many of their seeds fall to the ground and overwinter until next spring.
Next spring, if the wildflower patch receives rain, or is watered, many of these annual seeds will sprout again when temperatures warm up.
The great news is that if you grow wildflowers native to your area and soil, you don’t need to fertilize or amend the soil with
The only exception to this rule is if you have very sandy soil, you should work in some compost to add texture and tilth to the soil.
SOWING WILDFLOWER SEEDS, STEP BY STEP!
The first step is to remove all WEEDS from the area you want to plant your wildflowers!
This project should be completed weeks in advance, if possible.
- Rake the soil so that the first inch of soil is loose and then level the soil with the back side of the rake.
- Grab a measured amount of seed (check the guide on your seed package) and mix it in a small bucket with five times the amount of play sand. (The sand is a carrier for your seeds)
- Sow your seeds as if you are salting the ground making sure that you cover all the areas with the sand/seed mix. The sand makes it easy to see if you missed any spots!
- Tamp your seeded soil with a roller, (you can rent at the garden center), or use
a landscapingtamp, or a plywood board laid over the ground and walk on it! You want to ensure good “seed and soil contact!”
- Water your wildflower “patch” and make sure that the soil does not dry out before, during, or after sprouting! This may be
everydayin some areas!
- Enjoy your wildflowers.
WHEN TO SOW WILDFLOWER SEEDS
Early spring, after the threat of freezing temperatures has past, is an ideal time to sow wildflower seeds, (especially if you live in a cold climate zone).
Fall is also a good time to sow wildflower seeds and is certainly appropriate for mild winter climates, like in Los Angeles. We have options!
MAINTAINING A WILDFLOWER PATCH
Maintaining an established wildflower patch includes mowing through an area if you would like to walk through your meadow.
Water your wildflower patch or add sprinklers or drip hose if your area does not receive rain.
In year two, when the perennials give their first bloom, be careful not to disturb these plants and lightly rake the soil to bring annual seeds to the surface. This way, you can have some more annual flowers bloom!
SUN, SUN, SUN
Make sure that the area that you establish for your wildflower garden receives at least six or more hours of direct sun everyday.
If trees grow and shade the area, you will compromise your wildflower meadow’s flowerig potential. So stay alert.
Growing wildflowers is a treasure.
Seeds are not expensive and you don’t need a huge yard to enjoy a small wildflower patch in your yard.
You can even grow wildflowers in a large garden container!
How fun is that!??
WATCH “HOME & FAMILY” SHOW!
Are you watching my weekly gardening segments on the Home & Family show on the Hallmark Channel?
I invite you to do so!