How to sow Wildflower Seed.
(1) Site Preparation
Firstly, remove all weeds & plants such as Nettles, Thistles, Docks, Grass etc. This can be done by spraying the area with a Glyphosate weed killer. For best result, you may have to spray the area more than once.
The aim is to reduce a firm weed free tilth to promote healthy germination. The lower amount of nutrients, the better the results you will have.
Try to achieve a moderate to low fertility within the top 15cm of the soil. Weeds and grasses grow faster than Wild Flowers and will therefore compete and eventually take over the Wild Flowers.
(If the top soil is extremely fertile, remove the top soil to subsoil prior to sowing.)
Cultivate the site to a depth of around 10cm (on badly drained or compacted soils -25cm). This can be done with a fork, petrol tiller or on large areas a plough.
The site should be cultivated as early as possible
Measure the area, so you can work out how much seed is required in the next stage
Sowing can take place throughout most of the year, providing a good tilth can be prepared. However, the months of March/April/August and September are generally most suited.
There are some Wild Flowers that will only grow in certain soils, so make sure you choose the mix for your soils. We have mixtures for Standard, Calcareous, Acidic and Heavy soils.
Ensure all the seed is mixed to ensure an evenly spread broadcast. Seed can be sown by hand for smaller areas, or with a spreader for larger areas. The seed can be mixed with sand to bulk it up and this helps to get an even spread.
The general sowing rates for Wild Flowers are;
5g/m² - Mixtures containing Grass (80% Grass 20% Wild Flower)
2g/m² - Pure 100% Wild Flower Mixtures
Once sown, rake or harrow the area to mix the seed in the soil approx 0.5cm depth afterwards, it's best to roll the area to compact the soil slightly. If a small area, it can be trodden on to compact the soil.
(3) Future Maintenance
In the first year after sowing, weed control is a priority. If weeds are present they can be controlled by mowing, pulling the weeds out by hand or spraying (however please be careful if spraying). You will only see the Annual Wild Flowers in the 1st year.
In the 2nd year after sowing, the Grass and Wild Flowers will be established and annual weeds will be less as a threat, meaning less maintenance. Perennial & Biennual plants will be seen flowering in the second year. The Perennials will then flower every year after, and the Annual/Biennial plants will be seen if the seeds are distributed before removing the clippings.
Wild Flowers should be cut twice a year, once in the spring and once in late autumn after the plants produce seed. Cutting helps eliminate any weeds and tidy’s the area up. The late autumn cut will distribute seeds produced by the Wild Flowers. The clippings should then be removed from the site to reduce fertility.
Different Types of Wild Flowers
Annual - these perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season (mainly Cornfield Wild Flowers are annual)
Perennial - they persist for many growing seasons but you will not see them flower in the first season (most Wild Flowers are Perennial)
Biennial - they require two years to complete their life cycle, they Flower in the second year only. For example Foxglove