Fall is the perfect time for planting wildflowers. Think about it! In nature wildflowers produce their seed in the fall. The seed then falls on the ground, goes dormant during the winter, and then sprouts in the early spring and summer. You can easily replicate this same process.
First, timing is key. You want to wait until after the first frosts of the season. Perennial wildflower seeds need these cold temperatures in order to go dormant and trigger growth when the weather warms. Professional growers do this artificially by chilling seeds before planting.
Next, is prepping the soil. The great thing about doing this in the fall is weed. The majority of them go dormant during the winter and most new sprouts on the freshly tilled soil will be killed by frost. Simply remove the sod and till the soil to get it ready for planting. Most wildflower varieties aren’t particularly picky when it comes to amending the soil. However, a touch of tilled in compost never hurts.
Finally, there is planting. It is as easy as scattering the seed and doing a dance. Really! Do a little stompy-stomp to compress the seed into the soil. Then cover it with a thin layer of straw mulch. (Just make sure it is seed-free straw.)
When temperatures start to warm up in the spring, you should begin to see sprouts. However, be on the lookout for weeds too. Many seed packs will show you what the seedlings will look like so they don’t become the victim of “friendly fire”. The key to success is preparation. Follow these steps and you should be enjoying a bounty of beautiful blooms by summer.
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