What to Expect
Wildflowers can provide an excellent, low cost alternative in large-scale, high maintenance situations, as well as a satisfying change from traditional urban landscaping. However, during their initial establishment period, wildflowers require as much maintenance as traditional plantings.
A smooth, weed- and vegetation-free planting bed is important for good seed-soil contact and prompt germination. Avoid seeding more than the recommended rate since overseeding can result in crowded conditions the first year and poor establishment of perennials. Cover seeds lightly to protect them from drying out during germination, and to prevent them from being eaten by birds. Consistent moisture is important for 4 – 6 weeks after planting.
A wildflower planting requires the same weed control measures as traditional landscaping. Effective measures include site preparation prior to planting and a post-germination maintenance program.
Most Applewood wildflower mixes contain annual, biennial and perennial species. The annuals, which may not be native to your area, are included to assure maximum color during the first season and to act as a nurse crop for the slower-growing perennials. Annuals germinate quickly when conditions are favorable, providing a quick ground cover and competition against weeds. Natural reseeding of annuals ranges from significant to minimal, depending on the species, climate, soil texture and other factors. Most perennial and biennial species begin to bloom the second season, but not as profusely as annuals. Therefore, wildflower plantings look noticeably different after the first year.
Sometimes it is desirable or even necessary to sow seed in second and subsequent years. Reseeding may be necessary if establishment of wildflowers is spotty or poor. It is possible to reseed bare areas with the original mixture. Loosen soil of bare areas and provide adequate weed control and supplemental irrigation as needed. Where natural reseeding of annuals is minimal, sowing annuals each spring can produce a magnificent annual and perennial display throughout the growing season.
If desired, wildflowers may be mowed in the fall following seed set. Mow to a height of 4-6 inches, and leave the residue on the ground because it is a reservoir of viable seeds.