“What is the best way to plant wildflower seeds. I am preparing a spot on a sunny hill, taking the grass and roots out down to the dirt. I know I have to mix the seeds with sand. Are there any other tips on making them thrive? I appreciate the advice. Thank you.” Question from Lexy of Weare, New Hampshire
Answer: There are some tricks to getting wildflower seed to become established when sown outdoors. For success, please follow these wildflower sowing tips from the western horticulturist, Maureen Gilmer.
- Use new seed from local sources. Wildflower seed can lose its viability quickly, so use seed packed for the current year.
- Apply the right amount of seed. Each seed mix will have its own designated application rate. A general rule of thumb is ¼ pound of wildflower seed will cover 500 to 1000 square feet. Make sure you get enough seed to produce the density of color you want.
- Scar the soil. Annual wildflowers love the disturbed ground, so make sure yours is freshly tilled or hand-worked with an iron rake prior to sowing. Seed gathers in these furrows. (The first spring after World War I ended, the battlefields of France bloomed solid red with corn poppies that thrived in soils churned up by trench warfare.)
- Cover seeds very lightly. Some wildflowers need light to germinate and remain dormant without it. Providing too much cover can spoil your efforts. Instead, sow the seed, then scatter Black Gold Garden Compost Blend in a thin layer over the top. It too will migrate into the furrows to keep seed lightly moist.
- Weed to prevent competition. Spring weeds can devastate your wildflowers. As they begin to develop, pick out the grasses so they don’t compete for the same soil moisture as the wildflower seedlings.
Provide water during dry periods. If rains are poor, use a sprinkler to create rain-like irrigation every couple of weeks during the winter and early spring.
Black Gold Horticulturist