The main sowing time is in the spring, once the soil temperature has started to rise. The seeds can be sown at any time from the end of March through until June, subject to the conditions at the time. The exception is the Universal Bloom Mixture. This contains a mixture of annuals and biennials which are able to 'overwinter'. This mixture can be sown in autumn from September through until early November, subject to conditions at the time, as well as in the spring.
Selecting a Site:
ColourMax mixtures will perform best in areas of full sun. The chosen site should ideally receive direct sunlight for at least 50% of the day. The mixtures can be sown in shaded areas, however the flowering display will be significantly reduced.
ColourMax seed will grow in most soil types. It is best to avoid areas which suffer from prolonged waterlogging. The species in the ColourMax range are tolerant of dry conditions, but their establishment and growth will be limited in extremely dry conditions.
Sites which are known to suffer from weeds should be treated with a non-residual herbicide prior to sowing.
In order to germinate, the seed needs to be sown into bare soil (it cannot be sown directly into existing grassed areas). A seed bed needs to be prepared by cultivating the soil and working it to provide a smooth surface. The seedbed needs to be sufficiently loose so that the seed can be lightly covered by the soil.
Mix the seed before sowing, as there are various different seed sizes in the mix it is possible for some separation to occur.
The seed can be sown by hand for smaller areas or mechanically for larger areas. The sowing rate for the ColourMax mixtures is 3g/m². To make it easier to spread, the seed can be mixed with a carrier such as dried sand in order to increase the volume. A suggested mixing ratio is 1 part seed to 3 parts sand. Once applied, the seed can be lightly raked or rolled in to ensure good contact with the soil.
Once the seed is sown, it will begin to germinate in around 2-3 weeks. Flowering will normally occur after around 50 days from sowing.
The beauty of the ColourMax range is that they are low maintenance. There is no requirement to apply any fertilisers or water once the plants are fully established. However if the seed germinates and conditions become very dry it may be necessary to irrigate as the young seedling will be susceptible to drying out.
It is always possible that there will be some weed establishment from weed seeds already within the seed bed. Smaller weeds are unlikely to pose a problem, however aggressive weeds (e.g. Docks, Nettles, Thistles) should be removed as soon as possible.
ColourMax mixtures have a long flowering period and can continue to flower into the autumn subject to the conditions. When the display of flowers begins to fade the flowers can be cut down to a height of around 10cm. The debris can be either left to naturally biodegrade or it can be collected and disposed of. The area can then be cultivated ready to be sown again in the following spring. It is possible that some of the original seed may germinate in year two, however this cannot be relied upon and any display will be significantly reduced. For best results the seed should be re-sown each year.