Planting Grasses with Wildflowers

How to Create a Beautiful Flowering Meadow or Prairie


Combinations That Work Best

Wildflowers can be sown with grasses to create a flowering meadow or prairie. For most areas of the United States, we recommend using one of our native grass seed mixes. A regional, native wildflower seed mix works wonderfully with a regional, native grass seed mix. For specific requirements, individual grass species may be preferred.

Hard Fescue or Sheep Fescue work well in most areas of the United States. These fine-bladed bunch grasses are adaptable, non-aggressive and shorter than many native grasses. They also have a higher shade tolerance than most native grass species. In the southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, we recommend our Southeast Native Grass Mix or warm-season grasses; Hard and Sheep Fescue will not thrive in these climates.

Warm-season grasses to consider include Blue Grama, Sideoats Grama, Buffalo Grass, Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indiangrass and Switchgrass. These grasses grow very slowly and are planted for aesthetic and ecological reasons rather than prompt stabilization of soil. Native grasses provide food and shelter for native birds and other wildlife.


Combinations To Avoid

Aggressive grasses should be avoided because they will crowd out most wildflowers; these grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass, Smooth Brome, Crested Wheatgrass, Bermuda Grass, and Annual Rye. If wildflowers must be used with these grasses, the flowers should be planted in high-density patches as accents to the grassed areas, or the flowers may be sown with the grasses if the planting rates of the grasses are reduced significantly.


How to Sow Native Grass Seeds and Wildflower Seeds Together

Because many native grass seeds are fluffy or chaffy, blend thoroughly with wildflower seeds just prior to sowing seeds if you are broadcast seeding. If you are using a drill, the grass and flower seeds may need to be divided into fluffy seed, large seed and small seed groupings to fit the types of seed boxes on the drill.

More Wildflower Planting Guide Resources

Shortgrass Prairie Mix including long-headed coneflower and purple coneflower in native tallgrass prairie (Ratabida columnifera and Echinacea angustifolia)
Indiangrass
Switchgrass
Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus, male dancing on a lek in the mixed grass prairie in Nebraska National Forest within the Nebraska Sandhi