From poppy plants to white clover, cornflowers, pheasant eye and toadflax, growing wildflowers in your garden gives you vibrant colours, textures and a range of attractive plants through spring and summer.
Creating a space for wildflowers, either in a small bed or a mini meadow, will have so many benefits, including attracting lots of wildlife.
Wildflowers can be grown from seed or from young baby plants, called plug plants.
Benefits of growing wildflowers
Wildflowers are easy to grow, can keep coming back each year and don’t need too much maintenance.
- Wildflowers are loved by insects such as bees and butterflies, which bring in other creatures like ladybirds and birds.
- Wildflowers naturally produce lots of seeds through pollination that will create new and more abundant flower generations.
How to prepare the soil for wildflowers
Take out weeds from the soil by hand or with a fork.
- If possible, small beds or mini meadows can be covered with weed-membrane for several weeks before sowing to control weed growth.
- Don’t use fertiliser or manure in the soil as this promotes excessive growth, with flowers and grasses becoming crowded.
- Let the soil settle for about four weeks before planting.
How to grow wildflowers from seeds
When to sow
- Wildflower seeds can be sown directly into the ground in March or April, when the soil’s warming after winter.
- Seeds can also be sown in September, but there’s a risk of waterlogging happening during wet winters on heavy soils.
How to sow
- Large and small areas can be sown by hand.
- The rate to scatter seed onto the surface depends on the wildflower variety. It can be difficult to judge, so mix seed with silver sand to make it simpler to handle.
- You can place canes on the ground to make grids, helping you to see and judge an even seed spread within each grid.
- To help get an even mix, sow half of the seed lengthways and half widthways.
- Lightly compact the soil down with the back of a rake, so that seeds make contact but aren’t buried deep in the soil.
- Water well and be prepared for good growth inside four to six weeks.
How to protect wildflower seeds
It may be necessary to use mesh netting to keep birds away from the seed, or place CDs from an overhanging string to frighten them away.
How to grow wildflowers from plants
Prepare the soil in the same way as for wildflower seeds (see above).
Generally, plant about five plants per square yard (square metre) and get a variety of mixed wildflowers. Create a planting hole big enough to take the roots and firm the soil back in around it once planted.
Perennial plants will fall back at the end of the autumn, then take hold again and grow tall and strong the following growth period.