General gardening topics

How to prepare the ground for wildflowers

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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


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 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
Wildflowers Shake And Rake Grow Your Own Colour Themed Annual Flowers from Seed (Wild Flowers)
  • A lovely colour coordinated mixed seeds selection that can be shaked and raked into your garden and produce some beautiful visuals. Easy to grow mixes of glorious colour and variety to enhance your garden and attract butterflies and bees
  • Simply shake and rake your seeds into an area of your choice where you would like them to grow, and wait for your amazing burst of wild flowers and colours
  • Sow March to June for flowers in summer or September to November to flower in the following spring they will flower in their first year and then self-seed every year.
  • Contains mixed wild flower Seeds with a net weight 200g, including 15g seeds plus a filler to make sure the seed is distributed evenly and dont clump together when shaking.
  • Each colour coordinated wildflower shaker box is 100% biodegradable and contains no plastics
Bestseller No. 2
Plantworks Ltd MMRG01 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. 3
1Kg Pure Wild Flower Meadow Certified Seeds Over 20 Species of Flower Amazing Value Bulk WholesaleMix 777
  • Genuine Certified Seeds
  • Mix 777
  • Mix of Annuals & Perennials
  • Sowing Rate of 1g to 2g per square metre.
Bestseller No. 4
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 with T&M's very own cultural instructions on how to care for your seeds.
  • SUPPLIED: 1x Box with net weight 200g, including 15g seeds plus vermiculite to help flowers thrive

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Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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