Tips for Success with Dry Area Plantings
By Mike "The Seed Man" Lizotte
We work with gardeners who live in coastal areas including Cape Cod, the Carolinas, and California, where dry, airy, well-drained soils are common. We also work with gardeners who live in climates with very hot, dry weather in the deep South and the Southwest, where there is very limited rainfall during late spring and summer and early fall months. Plus, across the country, gardeners and homeowners in most climates have garden beds or areas of their property that are hot and dry.
Can you grow wildflowers in these conditions? The answer is yes!
Less Water, More Wildflowers
Wildflowers can survive and thrive in a wide variety of weather, soil conditions and pH levels. Once established, almost all wildflowers need very little supplemental water. That’s why they are so popular in the gardening landscape as, unlike other flowers, they are not as finicky when it comes to soil conditions, planting zones, or other factors that can make growing ornamental flowers challenging. Planting wildflowers is a fantastic option for adding bright color and attracting pollinators to gardens or meadows where you have lean soil or dry conditions. If you want a beautiful garden or meadow, without watering chores all summer long, wildflowers are the perfect solution. We’re here to help!
Troubleshooting For Dry Area Planting
If you have very sandy well-drained soil, and current plant or grass growth is patchy, or you’ve tried to grow flowers in the past with little results, then we recommend getting a soil test. Your soil test will tell you the best way to amend your soil so that you can grow with confidence. If you do decide to test the pH level of your soil, the ideal conditions would be a number between 5 (acidic) and 9 (alkaline). Most soil tests are inexpensive, and can be performed by a local Extension/Master Gardening chapter.
If the area where you want to plant is currently supporting the growth of grasses or weeds, that means your soil is perfect for planting wildflowers! These tough and durable flowers do not need highly enriched soil, so you don’t have to spend lots of energy and resources to improve your soil -- it usually doesn’t yield better results.
Best Wildflowers For Planting In Dry Soil
Our Dry Area Wildflower Mix has been providing the perfect solution for over 30 years. We formulated this mix with 25 different annual and perennial wildflowers that adapt to very well drained, silt based soil. Wildflower species include perennials such as Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Blanket Flower, Blue Flax, and Black Eyed Susan, which establish deep root systems to withstand long periods of time without rain or moisture, providing lasting color year after year.
"This mix is one of the best I have ever used. Flowers are diverse in size, color, and bloom periods. Very little watering required after establishment, however getting them established did require frequent waterings. I found it worked well to mix this with a vibrant annual mix to add some extra color. I will be using this mix for many years."
Our Top 10 Favorite Drought Tolerant Wildflowers
In addition to our popular Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix, we offer a great selection of individual species that would also do very well growing in dry soil conditions. All the seed we sell in 100% pure flower seed, GMO-Free, Neonicotinoid Free, and guaranteed to grow! Below are some of our favorites tried-and-true varieties:
Tips for Planting & Watering Wildflowers In Dry Areas
If you live in a heatwave-prone area where grass lawns typically turn brown in the summertime, wildflowers should be planted in early spring. This will prevent young plants from being exposed to excessive heat during their first season of growth.
Ideally, plant during the rainiest time of year to minimize the need for supplemental watering -- or at least keep the weather nice and mild so that the sun doesn't evaporate the moisture from the soil.
Wildflowers can still be planted in areas where the hose doesn't reach. We've all seen gorgeous, large scale meadows after all! To accomplish this feat, either time your planting with the weather, or plant seeds in fall to take advantage of winter precipitation.
Wildflower seeds and seedlings must stay moist until they are 4 - 6 inches tall (4 - 6 weeks.) While this is true of most seeds (including many vegetable seeds), the difference lies in the fact that wildflower seeds are not buried beneath wet soil. With constant exposure to the sun, they'll need your help staying moist!
Seed Man's Planting Tips: A sprinkler attached to a timer is an easy way to water your planting without disrupting your regular schedule. On exceptionally hot and sunny days, it may prove difficult to keep the seed bed moist throughout the day, so you can give a through watering the next morning. Water your site well before scattering your seed, and/or make yourself available for daytime watering on hot, sunny days.
When seedlings are 4 to 6 inches high, you can start watering less often, with thorough, deep watering. This will help your wildflowers establish deep root systems, which will make the plants more resilient and drought tolerant.
Shop Drought Tolerant Wildflower Seeds
Our Dry Area Mix is perfect for areas that are out of the way or regions that have water restrictions. It contains 25 different wildflowers, both annuals and perennials, that are dro...Learn MoreDry Area Wildflower Seed Mix Dry Area Wildflower Seed MixAs low as $11.95Per 1/4 PoundOur Dry Area Mix is perfect for areas that are out of the way or regions that have water restrictions. It contains 25 different wildflowers, both annuals and perennials, that are drought tolerant. This mix is designed to bloom all season long, year after year - It will burst into blooms the first year with the annual wildflowers and provide color in years after with the perennials.
A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy an...Learn MorePerennial Lupine Seeds Perennial Lupine Lupinus perennisAs low as $17.95Per 1/4 PoundA field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy and Rudbeckia) for an extended season of color. Growing to be about 12-36” tall, Lupine is a great choice for the front of the meadow or garden bed. Extremely easy to grow and deer resistant, this perennial flower blooms year after year. Seeds are 100% pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
This mix of 16 native wildflowers, including Purple Coneflower, Wild Lupine, Scarlet Sage and more, is for areas in the eastern U.S. and eastern Canada where water conservation is de...Learn MoreEastern Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix Eastern Xeriscape Wildflower Seed MixAs low as $21.95Per 1/4 PoundThis mix of 16 native wildflowers, including Purple Coneflower, Wild Lupine, Scarlet Sage and more, is for areas in the eastern U.S. and eastern Canada where water conservation is desired. This long-lasting mixture adds colorful blooms in the first season and for years to come. This mixture is also beneficial to the pollinators native to your region and will attract wildlife to your garden or meadow. All of the seed we handle at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
‘South of the Border’ Zinnia Mix is a bright, bold mix of yellow, red, and bicolor flowers. As the name hints, these flowers originated in warm, sunny Mexico, and are nat...Learn MoreSouth Of The Border Zinnia Seed Mix Zinnia South Of The Border Mix Zinnia elegans South Of The Border MixAs low as $10.95 Sale $9.86Per 1/4 Pound‘South of the Border’ Zinnia Mix is a bright, bold mix of yellow, red, and bicolor flowers. As the name hints, these flowers originated in warm, sunny Mexico, and are native to the Southwestern US as well. Count on Zinnias to attract butterflies and beneficial pollinators from summer right up until frost and provide plenty of excellent cut flowers. Zinnias are easy to grow and deer resistant. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow. Annual.