Colorful, diverse and resilient, wildflowers are a great option for beginner or occasional gardeners. Whether you're inspired to start growing wildflowers because you have some seed paper, admire your neighbor's blooms, or want to try a new or therapeutic activity while at home. This step-by-step guide is for you.
How planting wildflowers benefits you and the Earth
- Encouraging biodiversity - Especially when planted in their native regions where urbanization has taken over, wildflowers attract the bugs, bacteria, birds, and other living things that bring balance and harmony to the environment.
- Helping out pollinators - Bees, hummingbirds, and other pollen-lovers rely on native wildflowers for food and shelter. You may see them coming back to your yard.
- Saving time, money and waste - Wildflowers don't require harsh chemical fertilizers or pesticides. They are typically less susceptible to pests and diseases and need minimal watering.
Here's what you'll need to grow a wildflower garden:
- Some seed paper or a bag of wildflower seeds
- A till, shovel, gardening fork and/or trowel
- A rake and gardening gloves
- Soil amendments (sand, organic compost, worm castings, plant-based waste, animal manure, rotten leaves, kelp meal, or bone meal)
Note: Before buying or including amendments, check on the condition of your soil first.
Step 1: Choose a sunny spot in your garden bed that gets sunlight for at least 6 hours out of the day. Avoid planting in lawn grass as thatch might prevent wildflower growth. Plant in the spring after the last frost. Germinating seeds need to be kept as warm as possible.
Step 2: Pull out the competition and loosen the soil. Hard-packed soil with weeds, rocks, and dried-out plants get in the way of your new sprouts. Wait until after a rainy day or hose down your soil before weeding. Wet soil may be easier to move around. Dig at least 2 inches deep into the soil, turning the soil over and over, until you get a crumbly texture. Use a rototiller, shovel, and/or trowels to dig up the weeds by the roots.
Step 3: Check the health of your soil. Weeds, bugs, earthworms and thriving new growths are a sign your soil is healthy. If not, mix in some soil amendments.
Step 4: Check the drainage of your soil. Add mulch or sand to loosen the soil if it's hard-packed.
Step 5: If planting seed paper, follow these instructions. If planting bagged seeds, sprinkle and spread the seeds over the soil according to your package instructions. Mix the seeds with sand or bark to even out the spread, unless the package already includes it. Densely packed seeds compete with each other and may not sprout.
Tip: Mix annual wildflowers with perennials (perennials typically don't show in their first year, while annuals do! The Botanical PaperWorks standard wildflower seed blend has a mix of different annual species.)
Step 6: Lightly rake or tramp on the seeds to work them into the soil. Avoid burying them too deep.
Step 7: Water the seeds thoroughly daily until the seeds are 4 - 6'' tall (about 2-3 weeks old). On a rainy day, you don't have to water the seeds.
Step 8: Watch it grow! Sprouts should show between 7-10 days or less. Blooms should show between 45-60 days. The growth rate depends on environmental conditions, weather, and treatment.
Step 9: Maintain your wildflower garden. Pull weeds regularly. If one wildflower species is taking over, remove the seedhead with clippers to give other species a chance.
Note: If you want to replenish your wildflower garden next year, collect the seeds at the end of the season. Place them into small pouches, label with names and dates, store in a dark, cool, and dry place.
Take a look at some examples of seed paper growing
These images are from our clients and team members who planted wildflower seed paper in their garden, at the lake, and on their balcony. Wildflower gardening is possible to do in various places—from large backyard beddings to smaller condo balcony containers.
Growing a garden from seeds to greens is a process that takes patience and time. Stay patient, stay persistent, and keep trying. Eventually, you'll find a system that works for you.