Start by removing all existing weeds and other material, if necessary use an appropriate total weed killer.
If the area has been overgrown with weeds for several years, it is important to reduce the number of weed seeds in the soil. It may be necessary therefore to allow time for the first flush of weeds to germinate then remove before attempting to sow any wildflowers.
Wildflowers prefer a poor soil with low nutrients. If practical, remove any good quality top soil.
Once the weeds have been removed, prepare soil to a fine tilth ready for sowing your wildflower seeds.
Try not to disturb the soil any further as this may bring more weed seeds to the surface.
Choose a wildflower seed mixture suitable for your soil conditions. If uncertain, remember to think what your soil is like during the growing period from March - October (most soils during the winter can be heavy and wet).
Sowing times can be any time during the period from the end of March to the end of October. The ideal time being the cooler spring and autumn months - avoid the hot summer months.
Sow wildflower seed at 5 gms/m2, it should not be necessary to rake the seed over as the light helps germination of many species.
To assist sowing, it is advisable to mix the wildflower seed with a carrier such as dry sand. This will help in distributing the seed evenly over a large area. A seed spreader can also help with this.
The nurse grasses will appear within 7 - 10 days; the wildflowers may vary depending upon species - some may take only a few weeks, while others can take several months.
Cornfield Annuals will flower the same year if sown during the spring or the previous autumn.
Perennial wildflower species will establish during the first year of sowing and flower during the second year.
If you'd like to establish a wildflower garden that flowers in the same year, but with new species the following year, use a dual purpose wildflower seed mix. A dual purpose mix contains both cornfield annuals and perennial wildflower species.
Using Wildflower Plants
In some situations, transplanting young wildflower plants into grassland is a useful technique to enable the recreation of a rich flora.
The best time for transplants is in the autumn when they are able to develop a good root system before active spring growth, or in the spring as soon as soil temperature rises to 10 degrees centigrade or above.
Suggested planting density is one plant of each species per square metre, with a maximum of five species per square metre.
The area for planting should be close-mown prior to planting and the cuttings removed. Planting is practical at any time of the year, but the soil must be moist. Optimum planting time for wildflower plants is August to October.
Care should be taken that the plants are watered thoroughly prior to planting, are firmed in well and are not allowed to dry out in the critical weeks following their introduction.
Grass should be mown down to 60-75mm each time it reaches a height above 100mm and the cuttings removed. This allows light and space for the young plants.
If the growth of grass is very strong on fertile sites, mowing will be vitally important until the inherent fertility falls.
All our wildflower bulbs are suitable for naturalising in conditions that are close to their natural habitat. This means woodland wildflower species will thrive in the shade of shrubs and small garden trees. Wetland plant will thrive in boggy areas around a garden pond, etc.
Bulbs grow best planted when they are dormant in the late summer and autumn. At this time, they can be planted in large drifts in grass or under trees. Some bulbs are supplied as freshly lifted for immediate planting.
The key to successful planting is good preparation, making sure that the ground is weed free and the grass cut short.
In general, we recommend that wildflower bulbs should be planted at a depth equal to the height of the bulb, except:
Snowdrops - 5 cm
Summer snowflakes - 10 cm
Daffodils - 10 cm
Bluebells - 5 - 10 cm
Snake's head fritillary - 10 cm
Wood anenome - 2 cm
Have a question about establishing a wildflower garden? Or want to know more about the different wildflower species you'll find here in the UK? Or maybe you need help getting to grips with the huge range of wildflower seeds, plants and bulbs we have on offer? Whatever you need, we'd love to help!