The Q&A Archives: Maintaining Wildflowers

Question: My condominium has a wildflower area. What is best way to maintain them?

Answer: The best way to treat wildflowers is to cut them back only one time during the year and that is after the first hard frost. You allow the cut back "stuff" to remain right there, where it was cut, until early spring. You do this because it contains all the wildflower seeds. This annual cutting also removes any weed shrubs and trees. Never cut the field back in the spring, because many of the wildflowers are spring bloomers. If you cut it back then, not only do you lose your flowers, but you lose your seeds for next years bloom...and perhaps, since many are annual, you lose them all together! Above all, remember that wildflowers are essentially weeds! Don't be discouraged by their scruffy looks. That's the way they look out in the meadows where they grow naturally. In fact, most wildflowers do better and bloom more on relatively poor soils, so don't be quick to add fertilizer to the area. The birds, bees, and butterflies love them just the way they are...rustic. That's it! Mother Nature knows how to garden, eh?

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