General gardening topics

How to prepare the ground for wildflowers

Last updated on April 3rd, 2022

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Wildflower gardens make 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 a longer period of time to mature, but they live for many years. Perennials continue to grow year after year only dying back for the winter.
Types of wildflowers

Annuals

You need to know the type of seeds you are sowing because they have different soil requirements. Annuals aren’t as fussy and will 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 annual which means they grow, flower, seed, and die, all in a single year. 
  • They often prefer being sown in autumn or in spring.
  • They need to be sown into the soil directly, generally by just scattering the seeds 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 encourage germination.

Preparing the Soil

Once you are ready to prepare your soil, start by choosing a sunny location. 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 garden rake. You can even consider using a rotavator or tiller to break up and turn the soil. 

See our recommended rotavators in this buyer’s 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

Perennials and biannuals tend to thrive in low-maintenance areas. They do well when grown amongst grasses too. Perennials tend to flower early in the season, which means that local bees do a lot to pollinate them. They will propagate from seed and then regenerate from the existing roots annually. Realistically, with perennials, the only maintenance you need to 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 towards 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 because 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 perennial wildflowers grow in low nutrient areas and your job is to recreate their natural environment.

Popular wildflower seeds to buy

Bestseller No. 1
100 g UK Wild Flower Seed Plants Attracts Bees & Butterfly No Grass Pure Wildflower Seeds Genuine UK Seed Mix Annual Meadow This Meadow Flower Mixture Includes annuals and perennials
  • Guizotia abyssinica Salvia hispanica , Meconopsis , Linum usitatissimum , Linaceae ,Red, White & Blue Poppies Blanket flower,Cosmos Mixed Zinnia, yellow tansy Rosa Canina , Circaea , Aquilegia Dwarf Morning Glory, Evening Primrose,Myosotis, California Poppy, Baby's Breath, Love-in-a-Mist, Blue Lupin,Borage,Purple Tansy, Common Flax Phacelia Yellow Mustard / White Mustard Sainfoin Brown Mustard Late Cover Rescue Mixture Egyptian Clover Claymore Fado, and many more
  • 4 to 8 weeks you will start to see the fruits of your labour
  • A simply brilliant mixed selection of wildflower seeds that can be scattered in your garden and produce some truly wonderful visuals. Extremely easy to grow mixes of annual and perennial in glorious colour and variety to enhance your garden with a meadow-esque look and attract bees and insects.
  • Organic British seeds
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Bestseller No. 2
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  • Each pack contains a wild flower seed mix and sowing medium to help butterfly and bees in your garden
  • Sow mid-March to June or September to November. Flowers in summer from a spring sowing, or the following spring from an autumn sowing
  • Save the our bees and butterflies by sowing these seed shakers anywhere in your garden
  • These packs have a compostable wood shaving filler that prevents the seed from clumping together and gives a nice even spread
Bestseller No. 3
Wildflower Seeds Shake and Rake Grow Your Own Themed Annual Wildflowers from Seed Covers 25 Square Meters Save The Bees (Cottage Garden)
  • Choose from 5 fantastic varieties of colour coordinated mixed seeds that are specifically chosen to add vitality and wonderful visuals to your garden.
  • Easy to sow in any area of your garden you choose. Simply shake, rake and wait for the amazing burst of colour!
  • Sow from March to June to produce summer flowers or September November ready for the following spring.
  • Contains 10,000 mixed flower seeds including a filler to prevent clumping of the seeds to ensure they are sown evenly when shaking.
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Bestseller No. 4
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  • 🌼 Adorable WILD FLOWER SEED MIX for 10 sqm with bee flowers. Sow the garden flowers from April. Bloom in summer, June to Oct. Height ca. 60cm. Don't cut the wild flowers for the benefit of the bees
  • 🌼 INCLUDES 26 VARIETIES: Cornflower seeds, california poppy seeds, half-height sunflower seeds, marigold seeds, sage seeds, red poppy seeds and more! The appearance changes depending on the season
Bestseller No. 5
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

Image credits – Shutterstock.com

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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