Wildflowers are extremely beneficial to any local ecosystem, and they are essential especially if you are doing permaculture. Permaculture and wildflower gardening goes hand in hand, while your permaculture garden will provide you with food, the wildflower garden will provide food for bees and other beneficial insects. The more biodiversity you have in your garden the easier time you will have grown your own food, help nature out and nature will help you out.
You can make a wildflower garden by removing all the weeds in the area and raking or tilling the soil. If you want to have flowers in the first year of the wildflower garden then make sure to combine annual and perennial wildflower seeds. Annual wildflowers will bloom in the first year while perennial ones will bloom after the second year. If you only want to sow perennial wildflower seeds then you have to do it in autumn, if you want to sow both annual and perennial wildflower seeds then the best time to sow is in spring.
If you want to make your own wildflower garden then you should use both annual and perennial wildflower seeds, my personal recommendation is to use a seed mix that doesn’t contain any filler seeds and contains 100% wildflower seeds Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
If you have a large plot of land and you are tired of mowing the lawn a couple of times per week, then by creating a wildflower garden instead of growing grass you will significantly reduce how much mowing the lawn you have to do. Creating a wildflower garden is not as simple as sowing some wildflower seeds and watching them grow, you will need to prepare the soil and most importantly know what kind of wildflower seeds you will use.
If this is your first time making a wildflower garden from seed then make sure that the seed mix that you buy only contains wildflower seeds, as most companies will use grass seeds as filler. If you want to grow wildflowers in raised garden beds for full control of the soil composition the check out my recent article How To Fill A Raised Garden Bed Cheap ( Top 13 Ways ).
Annual and Perennial Wildflower Garden
Before you choose the spot where the wildflowers will be sown you have to think about how you will maintain them and you should buy the seeds based on the level of maintenance and the location. Perennial wildflower gardens are relatively low maintenance, although you will still need to do the occasional weeding. Annual wildflowers will bloom in the first year like Zinnias for example, although their seeds have to be sown every year.
There are two types of wildflowers, annuals, and perennials, annuals are the ones that die off after a year and perennials are the ones that come back year after year. If you want to see a lot of flowers in the first year of seeding then you should use both annual and perennial wildflowers. Annual wildflowers will bloom for a relatively long time and they tend to grow fairly fast. On the other hand, some perennial wildflowers will need a couple of years until they actually bloom. If you want to make a wildflower garden in clay soil then check out my recent article How To Break Down Clay Soil Fast ( In 8 Easy Steps ).
Choosing The Location Of The Wildflower Garden
The actual location of the wildflower garden will determine what kind of seeds you should buy. As a general rule, you should avoid places that tend to be constantly wet, in addition to this you should avoid areas where water tends to pool after rain. If the soil retains too much water or it is not draining properly then a lot of wildflowers will suffer from root rot. The good news is that there are specific wildflowers that thrive both in full sun and in the shade as well.
If you have some areas in the garden where nothing grows then you have to identify why this is the case, if not even weeds grow in that specific spot then wildflowers will definitely not be able to grow. When choosing the wildflower garden location I highly recommend that you start small, in a sunny location, and expand later if everything goes well. If you go way too big you might find that your wildflower garden turns into a weed garden in a matter of weeks. Some wildflowers will actually attract slugs, for more information check out my recent article What Attracts Slugs ( Top 10 Things ).
Remove Weeds From The Wildflower Garden Location
Get this step wrong and you will have a weed garden instead of a wildflower garden. Make sure to remove the weeds and their roots as well, you might want to till the soil if you have a relatively large plot of land. If you are planning to make the wildflower garden by seeding the soil then the last thing you want is for the seedlings to compete with well-established perennial weeds. Your seedlings will compete with the weeds like a lemonade stand does with Coca-Cola.
If you want a relatively hands-free approach to getting rid of weeds then you can simply smother them out. You can either use mulch or garden fabric placed right on top of the weeds. Just keep in mind that it will take a couple of months for the weeds to die out, and the best time of the year to smother them out is in autumn. If you are using garden fabric then make sure to get one that blocks off as much of the sun as possible, if the garden fabric doesn’t block most of the sun out then some of the weeds will still survive.
Till Or Rake The Wildflower Garden
Till the wildflower garden location if you still have some weeds growing or the soil is fairly compacted. If the soil is weed-free and relatively well-draining then you can get away by simply raking the soil. Wildflower plants and seedlings will establish a lot easier if the soil has been disturbed, this is especially important if you have clay soil. In case the area has a lot of deep-rooted weeds then it is a good idea to till the soil several times and remove the roots of the weeds.
Using Compost For The Wildflower Garden
In case you only use native wildflowers you can get away with not using any compost at all. On the other hand, if you use a mix of wildflowers which includes both annual and perennial wildflowers then it is a good idea to use some compost. Apply the compost after you have tilled or raked the wildflower garden. You can either make a layer of compost on the soil or work the compost into the soil by tilling or raking it in.
When To Sow The Wildflower Garden
There is a lot of confusion on when to actually seed the wildflower garden, some say the best time is in autumn while others will say that the best time is in spring. Perennial and annual wildflowers will need to be sown at different times. Most perennial wildflowers need to have low temperatures in order to germinate, so they have to be sown in the autumn. Annual wildflowers for the most part should be sown in the spring.
If you use both perennial and annual wildflower seeds in order to get flowers in the first year then you have to sow them in the spring. Keep in mind that the annual wildflowers will bloom in the first year, and perennial wildflowers tend to bloom in the second or third year.
Planting Or Sowing The Wildflower Garden
When making the wildflower garden you have three options, seed the garden, plant wildflowers, or combine them. It is a lot cheaper to sow wildflower seeds than to buy established wildflowers, but this depends on the size of the wildflower garden and your budget. My personal recommendation is to sow the wildflower garden with as many seeds as possible, not all of them will germinate and if there are any gaps in the garden then you can simply fill them with wildflower plants.
Once the wildflower seed mix is spread across the garden make sure to step on them, seeds need direct contact with the soil in order to germinate. Most seeds are so light that they will not have good enough contact with the soil if you only spread them around. Raking the area is also a good idea, just make sure to do it gently, or else you will simply rake off the seeds. Make sure to water the seeds right after sowing and for at least a couple of weeks until the seeds germinate.
Do Not Plant The Wildflower Seeds In Mulch
Mulching is extremely beneficial for any garden, but when it comes to seedlings some mulches will simply not let the seeds germinate. Even relatively light mulches like hay and grass clippings will either stop the wildflower seeds from germinating or they will simply not allow them to break to the surface. If you have mulched the area where the windflower will be then make sure to make some space with bare soil where you will sow the seeds.
Once most of the wildflower seeds have started to sprout you can place mulch around them, in such a way that the mulch doesn’t actually touch the stem of the plants.
Maintaining The Wildflower Garden
How easy or how hard will it be to maintain the wildflower garden depends on how well of a job you did when removing weeds. Inevitably there will be some weeds popping up in the wildflower garden, it is extremely important to pull these weeds out and to never let them go to seed. Other than pulling out the occasion weed you will also need to deadhead some of the flowers, this way they will focus their energy on growing new flowers instead of producing seeds.
When To Cut The Wildflower Garden
There are several options when it comes to how many times to cut the wildflower garden. Some people cut it once a year while others will cut it 2 or 3 times per year. If you are only having perennial wildflowers in the garden then you can cut it several times a year, this way you remove the weeds and strengthen the perennials. Just keep in mind that as some perennial wildflowers need a couple of years to establish cutting them will not let them flower, instead, they will focus on growing roots. Basically, if you cut the perennials 2-3 times in the first year you will sacrifice the flower blooms for the year and strengthen the plants.
On the other hand, if you have annual wildflowers or a combination of both annual and perennial wildflowers then you should only cut them once a year in autumn. September and October are the best times to cut the wildflower garden, most reseeding wildflowers have already dropped their seeds and the wildflowers will start dying off at that point.
As you can see making a wildflower garden is not that difficult, although you will definitely need to prepare the soil and remove all the weeds and their roots. Generally speaking, it will take a couple of years until the wildflower garden gets established and more or less self-sufficient.