written by Linda Brinlee, Master Gardener Fannin County
By any other name, wildflowers could be called weeds. Native wildflowers are low maintenance, attract bees and hummingbirds, and can be very fragrant. Seeds are usually the first way many gardeners try to introduce wildflowers, often without success. Aggie-Horticulture recommends the following for preparing the soil correctly and ensuring the seed has direct contact to the soil by pressing or rolling.
- Select a well-drained site. Moist sites create too much competition for wildflowers.
- Use an herbicide to eliminate competition (optional). However, clover and cool weather grasses are too aggressive to allow wildflowers to become established.
- Mow vegetation as short as possible and remove clippings to expose the soil.
- Rake or lightly till the area no deeper than 1 inch.
- Mix 1 part seed with 4 parts inert material such as masonry sand, perlite, potting soil, etc. to help aid in seed distribution.
- Broadcast one half of the seed as uniformly as possible. Sow the remaining half perpendicular to the initial sowing.
- Press the seed into the soil by walking on it or rolling over the area. The seeds only need to be 1/16 of an inch deep. Many seeds will be visible. Seeds sown too deep will not germinate.
- Thin as needed. Weed out the grasses. But wait before pulling up all the same kind of plant. Weeds and wildflowers look the same.