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Wildflower gardens make for a wonderful home to flying, winged insects and pollinators, all of whom serve an important ecological purpose. You can create a spectacular wildflower garden with minimal soil preparation. The key is to know ahead of time that wildflowers, while naturally occurring all over the world, are in fact quite fussy about their soil and nutrients. If they do not like the area in which they are growing, they will not perform well. That is why you have to take measures to prepare the ground beforehand. 

How to create a wildflower meadow – step by step

Types of Wildflowers

There are two types of wildflowers you can grow:

  1. Annuals: these germinate, flower, and die all in a single year.
  2. Perennials/Biannuals: these need longer to mature, but they live for many years. Perennials with continue to grow year after year only dieing back for the winter.
Types of wildflowers

Annuals

You need to know the type because they have different soil requirements. Annuals are not as fussy and adapt to most areas because they often thrive in farmland, with a lifecycle that coincides with that of annual farming. 

Here are some fun facts about annual wildflowers:

  • Wildflowers are often annuals which means they grow, flower, seed, and die in a single year. 
  • They often prefer being sown in Autumn or in Spring.
  • They need to be sown into the soil directly, generally just scattering the seed over the desired area.
  • If germinating from seed with wildflower seeds, they need a sunny location.
  • Wildflowers grow best in full sun with nutrient-rich soil.
  • They compete well with things like barley and wheat.
  • Most are self-seeding, but you need to distribute the soil to better encourage germination.

Preparing the Soil

Once you are ready to prepare your soil, start by locating a sunny spot. The wildflowers you grow will need this sun to thrive. 

The area needs to be stripped of all vegetation, especially roots of perennials weeds. The area needs to be dug to a depth of at least 15cm. Remember, the goal here is to copy the same style of preparation as a plough would do on a farm. 

The soil should be free draining and aided with organic matter to help it retain moisture. Once that is done, the soil should be raked with a tilth or garden rake. You can even consider using a rotavator or tiller to break up and turn the soil. 

See our recommended rotavators in this buyers guide here

The seeds should be sown right where you want them to flower. They should be thinned according to the packet instructions for the seeds of your choosing. The seeds are often very tiny and mixed with a sand mixture to help spread them more evenly.

Growing wild flowers

Perennials

Perennials and biannuals tend to thrive in low maintenance areas. They do well among grasses too. Perennials tend to flower early in the season, which means that local bees do a lot to pollinate them. They will propagate via seed and regenerate from the existing roots annually. Realistically, with perennials, the only maintenance you need do is to cut the flowers in summer (most gardeners with a large swath of land just mow the area). This will go a long way toward a second flush of flowers.

Preparing the Soil

Once you are ready to prepare your soil, start by locating an area with lots of sunlight. Remove all existing vegetation including leaves and roots. It is better to find an area to dedicate to the flowers rather than try to add them near your garden, as they thrive in low nutrient soil. 

Dig a depth of 12cm on average to loosen up the soil. Lightly fork over the area, especially if you are adding some low nutrient soil on the surface of the trench you have dug. 

Put the plants in the ground or spread the wildflower seeds in spring as directed on the seed packet. Cut back the wildflowers and grasses at least once each year, often in late June, to keep soil nutrient content low. This seems counterintuitive, but for perennial wildflowers, they grow in low nutrient areas and your job is to recreate their natural environment.

Popular wildflower seeds to buy

Bestseller No. 1
Plantworks Ltd Empathy Mini Meadow Easy Sow Wild Flower Seed 3m², Multi
  • Mini Meadow packaging is currently changing, you may receive the green or white packaging
  • Easy sow format includes vermiculite
  • All native UK species of flowers
  • All the flowers in mini Medow conform to the RHS guidelines 'RHS perfect for pollinators'
  • The root grow mycorrhiza fungi in mini meadow helps in the establishment of plants and nutrient Supply to enhance flowering
Bestseller No. 2
Wildflower Seeds Butterfly Bee Attracting Naturalising Wild Flower Seed Giant Twin Pack
  • 2 x 50m2 shaker boxes 15g of seeds per box for even spread of seeds
  • wild flower mix and butterfly and bee mix
  • ideal for naturalising large areas
  • save the bees before its too late
  • these packs have a compostable wood shaving filler that prevents the seed from clumping together and gives a nice even spread
Bestseller No. 3
Woodland Garden Wildflower Seeds for Bees and Butterflies | Wild Flower Seed Mix Grow Your Own Foxgloves, Borage and Forget Me Nots - Suitable for Shady Areas 1 x 15g Mixed Pack by Thompson & Morgan
  • VIBRANT BLOOMS; Mixed selection of wild flowers and meadow flower seeds for sensational colours
  • BEST OF BOTH; Multi coloured mix of annuals and perennial plants / wildflowers
  • FANTASTIC BUTTERFLY AND BEE SEEDS; Bee friendly plants to help restore beautiful British wildlife.
  • EASY TO GROW FLOWER SEEDS; Simply scatter your wildflower seeds, cover and wait for amazing results! Scatter packs make excellent gifts for a gardener!
  • SUPPLIED: 1x Box with net weight 200g, including 15g seeds plus vermiculite to help flowers thrive
Bestseller No. 4
Beebombs Wild Flower Seeds UK Native Mix, Wildflower Meadow Seed Balls, Bee Gift
  • HELP BRING THE BEES AND BUTTERFLIES back to Britain by helping to restore some of the 97% of beautiful, colourful wildflower meadow habitat that has been lost since WWII.
  • RE-CREATE THE BEAUTIFUL WILDFLOWER MEADOWS in your garden and make an important contribution to the biodiversity of Great Britain. Bee bombs wildflower seed mix work in planters and pots too.
Bestseller No. 5
1Kg Pure Wildflower Meadow Certified Seeds Over 20 Species of Flower Buy 2 Get 1 Free, Amazing Value
  • Genuine Certified Seeds
  • If you buy 1 you will only receive 1
  • Wild Scented
  • Mix of Annuals & Perennials
  • Sowing Rate of 1g to 2g per square metre.

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Last update on 2021-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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