In this article we describe how to plant a wildflower meadow using 3 different methods.
When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with a grass and wildflower mix
The most common method is to sow a mixture of wildflower seeds and meadow grass. This approach is generally used whenever it is possible to fully clear any existing vegetation and then prepare a bare weed -free seed bed. It is generally regarded as the most cost effective method for medium sized areas and above. Browse our range of Wildflower and meadow grass mixtures
When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with a pure wildflower mix
When it is not possible to clear the existing vegetation it may be necessary to over-seed using pure wildflower seed. This method is generally less reliable and is only appropriate for low fertility sites that are already vegetated with fine growing meadow grasses and perhaps a few wildflowers. In any event the existing grass should always be cut very short before over-sowing with wildflower seed. To prevent the grasses from smothering emerging seedlings, regular cutting would then need to be maintained until the wildflowers have established. View our range of 100% Wildflower mixtures.
When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with wildflower plug plants
A third alternative is the introduction of wildflower plant plugs. This approach is usually more costly and labour intensive but has the advantage of giving any wildflowers a head start and can offer quicker, more reliable results. This method is generally more suitable for smaller areas such as mini- meadows or flowering lawns. It is also useful on soils with high fertility, where there maybe a lot of competition from other plants and weeds that can not be removed.
Wild Daffodil bulbs can be introduced into their permanent planting positions in autumn. If the weather prevents planting, then bulbs should be stored in a very dry, cool shady place and well spaced out until things improve. Stored carefully in this way, Wild Daffodil bulbs should keep for a long period but if stored in a damp atmosphere the bulbs will rapidly turn soft. Read more
To grow a mixture of cornfield annual wildflowers you will need to create an area of bare soil. Unlike areas sown with perennial wildflower mixes, the soil does not need to be particularly poor, in fact cornfield annual seed mixes will often give a better display where there is a reasonable degree of fertility in the soil. Read more
Before attempting to create a Wildflower meadow, there are a number of factors which should be given due consideration. From the outset it should be fully understood that wildflower meadows do require management and regular cutting is an important part of how to create a wildflower meadow.
Before sowing any wildflower meadow mixture consideration should always be given to the soil type and situation.
Most soils fall into the category of clay, sandy or loam (midway between sand and clay). Other less frequently encountered soils include acid (e.g. peat) and chalk or limestone. Consideration should also be given to the light levels, which if low may mean a woodland mixture is required. Similarly if the soil is unusually moist, a wet soil or pond edge mix may be needed. By selecting a mixture well matched to the site you will achieve the best long-term results. If there is a great deal of uncertainty to the soil type then select a general-purpose mixture.
We can provide mixtures for all of the above situations both with or without the addition meadow grass.
Purple loosestrife seeds should be sown in trays of compost in spring or autumn. Seeds do not require any special treatment but following sowing, the trays should be kept moist. Once germinated, the seedlings can be pricked out and grown on, for planting out later in the year.
When fully rooted Purple loosestrife plug plants can be introduced to their permanent planting positions from late spring through to October. Initially they should be kept well watered and left to develop for several months. When planting into established grass, it is advisable to first cut the areas where the wildflower plants are to be introduced and create a small bare area up to several inches around each planting position to reduce initial competition. Given the right conditions Purple loosestrife will develop quickly into flowering sized plants. Bare in mind that Purple loosestrife plants of all sizes shed all their foliage for the winter. Once established Purple loosestrife flower plants will self-seed quite readily given the right conditions.