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Site Preparation and the Best Time to Plant Wildflowers

We all love the beauty of a field of wildflowers and so do all the pollinators. How do you prepare your site for planting and when is the best time to plant? Wildflowers do not compete well with weeds and the area you are planting should be weed free. So you want to encourage germination of surface weed seeds by watering the planting area. Once the weed seeds sprout, remove them with a hand weeder or spray with an organic herbicide. This process may need to be repeated to remove all of those weeds. If your soil is very compacted, incorporate some compost at this time.

Now when to plant–most areas can plant in the late fall but you can wait until the spring to plant but flowering will be a little delayed (some seeds should be stratified prior to planting). Some wildflowers need to go through the winter in order to germinate, so this is why late fall planting is a good practice. In the West where fall rain is spotty, you may want to water, but if seeds start to germinate, you will need to continue watering until Mother Nature takes over. Wildflowers will grow just fine in native soil, so no need to fertilize or amend. Unless specifically buying a shade-loving mix, wildflowers like full sun. But they don’t like soggy, wet feet, so a good draining location is a must. Many wildflower seeds are very small so it is best to mix with an inert material like sand (not sea sand) or vermiculite in a 1:10 ratio and add to a seed spreader to broadcast. After seeding wildflowers, roll area to get good seed-soil contact, or you can press down with a piece of plywood.

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