Wildflower Planting Instructions
- 1. Soil Preparation
- Proper soil preparation is one of the
most important factors to insure success in
planting wildflowers. The site must first be
prepared by removing all existing vegetation.
The soil is then cultivated with a chisel
plow and rototilled to create a fine seedbed.
Soil testing is important to determine soil
conditions (a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 is
optimal). Dolomitic limestone should be
added if the test results indicate very acidic
soil. If the results indicate a lack of nutrients,
fertilizer should be added during bed preparation.
A low nitrogen fertilizer with a ratio
of 1-2-2 or 1-3-2 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium)
- 2. Fumigation
- To eliminate competition from weeds
and grasses until wildflowers are well
established, beds are fumigated with methyl
bromide or metam sodium. Soil is tilled lightly
after the recommended waiting period to
increase aeration. Bioassays are the best
determination of soil readiness. Read and
follow all label instructions.
- 3. Planting Times and Techniques
- Best results are obtained when seeds are
sown in the fall from September through
November, or in the spring from March
through May. Seeds sown later than
November will normally lie dormant and will
not germinate until the following spring.
Those species that are not winter hardy
should be planted in the spring. The seed is
thoroughly mixed with clean, coarse sand
several times the seed’s bulk for even distribution.
Hydroseeders are used for larger
areas, while hand seeders may be used for
smaller areas. Broadcast the mix evenly into
prepared beds. After seeds are planted, the
soil is firmed with a cultipacker to insure that
the seeds are in good contact with the soil.
- 4. Mulch
- Mulching beds is important for good seed germination.
Beds are mulched with coastal bermuda hay, pine straw, fine pine bark, fumigated wheat or rye grain straw.
Beds can be irrigated at this time if practical.
- Coastal bermuda hay -- very light, 1/4" deep
- Pine straw -- 1/2" to 1" deep
- Fine pine bark -- very light, 1/4" deep
- Fumigated wheat straw or rye grain straw -- heavy, 1/2" to 1"
- Once the wildflowers are planted, little or no maintenance is required unless there is an extended dry period.
If possible, periodic watering prolongs the blooming period.
A slow-release fertilizer may be applied in late winder to insure good growth.
Some perennials bloom the first year while others only grow vegetatively and flower the following year.
Annuals bloom the first season, set seed and many successfully reseed themselves.
To fill in bare spots, break the soil and lightly rake in the seed.
If the seed is not harvested, mow once a year to remove old infloresences and further distribute the seed.
This should be done about one month after flowers have set seed.