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USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’. Knowing your zone number is helpful when shopping for plants because:

  • Cold-area gardeners can avoid buying plants that simply won’t survive their lowest winter temperatures.
  • Warm-area gardeners can steer clear of plants that need a period of cold weather in order to bloom again.
Find your Plant Hardiness Zone here.

The Three Most Important Steps to a Successful Wildflower Meadow

Sunflowers

We’re frequently asked to go over the step-by-step process of planting a Wildflower meadow with gardeners. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I received while working in customer service for over 3 years. Although all of the steps are important, I wanted to highlight the three most important steps so you’ll know to take extra care to do everything right during these parts of the process. You’ll be thrilled that you did when your meadow is bursting in blooms!

Mixed Wildflowers1. Clearing existing growth. This is technically under the “preparation” part of the process, but clearing existing growth during preparation is a big one. Wildflowers won’t compete well with existing plants, weeds, etc. and really need bare soil in order to thrive. Whether this means pulling everything by hand or renting a tiller, you should spend extra time on this step! A little extra work during the preparation stage will provide better results both short and long term.

2. Choosing the right varieties. This is very important!! Many Wildflowers prefer 6+ hours of sunlight a day, so if your area receives less than this, you’ll want to choose specific shade-tolerant varieties. Some varieties prefer sandy soil, others hate the cold, several varieties need a place to climb, etc. We’ve solved this problem by creating a filter on the left side of our Wildflower pages where you can choose your region, soil type, light requirements, etc. and it will show you the best varieties for your property. If you’re still not sure, one of our regional mixtures is always a great bet for a rainbow of blooms; they are specially formulated to thrive in certain regions of the country. Don’t forget – Our helpful gardening experts are also here to help 6 days a week. You can either call them at (877) 309-7333 or send them an email.

Morning Glory Seeds3. Seed coverage/compression. OK, I cheated a little and lumped two important steps into one. But they are both so important! Seed coverage is one of the main reasons customers don’t have success with planting a Wildflower meadow. Over-seeding an area can result in the seedlings choking each other out, therefore not growing at all. Our seed mixtures cover 1,500-4,000 square feet per pound, depending on the coverage you want (lush blooms to a scattered, meadow look). Any more than this and you will have trouble with growth. Individual species vary greatly by variety. Before planting, check the coverage for each variety; for example, a pound of Red Poppy seed can cover up to 10,000 square feet and a pound of Sunflower seed can only cover up to 400 square feet. For more information, read our article "How Much Seed Do I Need?".

Compression is a super simple and extremely important step. Depending on the size of your planting area, either walk on the seed after you’re finished planting or use a seed roller to compress the seed into the ground. The seed-to-soil contact is important for strong, healthy growth!

Don't forget, if you ever have any questions about planting you can contact the Seed Man. With over 25 years of Wildflower experience, he's our resident expert on all things seed! Find him on Facebook here or email him here.

Zinnia Seeds

Do you have questions about Wildflower planting? Feel free to ask in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

6 thoughts on “The Three Most Important Steps to a Successful Wildflower Meadow”

  • C.L. Fornari

    I object to your choice of illustrations. That lovely photo of a field filled with sunflowers is on a farm, and this is a cultivated plot of sunflowers not a wildflower meadow. Ditto the zinnias. These type of photos give people the wrong impression of what a wildflower meadow is or how theirs might look.

    Reply
  • Sharon Catania

    After planting your seeds, is it necessary to water daily in the fall?

    Reply
    • Mike Lizotte

      Hello Sharon,

      Ideally for a fall planting your seed isn't going to begin to germinate. It's going to lay dormant on the cool ground through the winter months and begin to flower next season when the ground warms in the spring. So there really should be a need to water. If you live in a frost free climate and are sowing, then yes, I would recommend that you water to help germination.

      I hope this information helps and please let me know if I can be of further assistance!

      Mike 'The Seed Man'

      Reply
  • Steve Johnson

    I want to plant some seed in back of where I live but I can't roto till this area. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Mike Lizotte

      Hello Steve,

      Yes there are instances that it makes it tough to prepare. If there is anything you can do to clear the area, even if it's using a steel rake and making small 'pockets' that you can sow the seed onto, the better results your seeding will yield!

      I hope this information helps and please let me know if I can be of further assistance!

      Mike 'The Seed Man'

      Reply
  • Bertha Page

    I prepared my ground in october and broadcast my seeds late october. I had a beautiful wildflower garden until the freeze two days ago. I want to order my spring seeds now, how do i go about preparing the ground for the spring planting???? I still have some plants that did not freeze.

    I live in zone 8b.

    Reply
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