The Q&A Archives: Wild Flower Seeds

Question: I have wild flower seeds that I'd like to plant but I was wondering when is the best time to plant them? And do I need to prep the soil? If so, what do I do.

Answer: Wildflower seed mixes can be difficult to work with, especially if some of the plants are not very well suited to your local area. And, there is often a problem with weeds sprouting and outcompeting the seedlings, just as there would be in any new garden area. Usually, to establish a wildflower planting it is better to set out transplants and allow them to become established and mature, then they will self seed to perpetuate the planting over time. That way you can select plants that are most likely to thrive and be reliable growers where you are planting.

But since you already have the seeds, the answer to your question depends in part on what kind(s) of seeds specifically you have. Some seeds may need pretreatment such as cold stratification prior to planting, while others may not. To achieve that, if your soil has not yet frozen, you could plant them now outside and wait and see how they germinate next spring, or simply wait and plant in the early spring. (With a spring planting, some seeds will probably germinate in a month or two, others may not germinate until the following spring.)

You would need to prepare the soil carefully just as you would for any flower planting bed using seeds (or transplants)-- remove existing turf/weeds, loosen it down six to ten inches, work in organic matter such as compost, plant carefully, and keep the area weeded. Planting the seeds/transplants in rows will help you identify weeds vs. seedlings. Mulching between the rows of seeds will also help keep down weeds. Good luck with your project!

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