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How to Plant Wildflowers
Step by step instructions on how to plant your wildflower seeds.
Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more.
Over 75 choices that will bloom in the second year and for years to come.
Over 110 choices for fast color, such as poppies, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnia, and many more.
Help the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds by planting wildflowers.
Wildflower seeds native to your region. Support local wildlife with native wildflowers.
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Perennial Planting Guide
Step by step instructions on how to plant your bare root or potted perennials when they arrive.
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Spring Flower Bulb Planting Guides
Step by step instructions on how to plant your spring-planted flower bulbs when they arrive.
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Thrives in areas with cold freezing winters and hot summers.
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by Suzanne DeJohn
Many gardeners think that spring is the best time to plant. We're glad to get outdoors and get our hands in the soil after a long winter.... and we assume plants feel the same way. Although spring is the time to plant vegetables and bedding plants (petunias and impatiens, for example) it's not necessarily the best time to set out other plants. For example, spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils and tulips must be planted in fall. And fall is as good -- or better -- a time to plant many perennials and wildflowers. Here's why:
Plant spring-blooming bulbs, such as crocus, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, in fall, once the soil has cooled to about 60° F. In most parts of the country, this usually occurs when evening temperatures begin to drop into the 40s. Don't wait too long, though; you want to plant at least six weeks before the ground freezes so bulbs have time to grow a strong root system. Here are some guidelines for when to start planting bulbs in different parts of the country:
Fall planting gives perennials a head start over their spring-planted counterparts. Roots continue to grow even as air temperatures cool, so plants are rarin' to go in spring. To give plants time to get established before winter, plan to plant at least six weeks before the ground freezes.
After planting, apply a thin (1- to 2-inch-deep) layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, around plants to conserve moisture. Plan to water weekly if nature doesn't provide a soaking rain. Don't apply fertilizer, however, because doing so can prevent plants from entering their winter dormancy. Once the ground freezes, apply a deeper mulch layer (3 to 4 inches deep) to help insulate roots from alternating freeze thaw cycles, keeping mulch an inch or two away from stems to prevent rot.
If you think about it, planting wildflower seed in fall makes sense. After all, in nature many wildflowers produce flowers in summer, develop seed heads, and then drop their seeds in fall. Those seeds lay dormant until the weather warms up in spring. When it comes to sowing your wildflower seed, the key to fall planting is patience: Wait to sow until after the first killing frost when air temperatures have cooled. Otherwise, the seeds of annual flowers may germinate during a warm spell, only to be killed by the next cold snap. One advantage of fall planting, especially in cold-winter areas, is that you'll see blooms a few weeks earlier than if you sowed in spring. For persons living in warmer climates where you may not experience the harsh cold winters, fall provides the ideal time to plant. Flowers will begin blooming through the winter and spring months before the extreme heat of the summer sets in. It also allows to plan planting around your rainy seasons which means less watering for you. It’s a win win situation for all!