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Tips for success planting wildflowers in dry soil

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 various 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 with 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 confidenceIf you decide to test your soil's pH level, 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 Meadow Wildflower Seed 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."

Micah in Idaho

Our Top 10 Favorite Drought Tolerant Wildflowers

In addition to our popular Dry Area Wildflower Meadow Seed Mix, we offer a great selection of individual species that would also grow well in dry soil conditions. All the seed we sell in 100% pure flower seed, GMO-Free, Neonicotinoid Free, and guaranteed to grow!

  1. Lanceleaf Coreopsis 
  2. Blue Flax 
  3. California Poppy
  4. Blanket Flower 
  5. Black Eyed Susan 
  6. Sweet Alyssum
  7. African Daisy  
  8. Cosmos 
  9. Purple Coneflower
  10. Cornflower or Bachelor Button

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. 

See our complete guide to planting wildflower seeds!

 

Shop Drought Tolerant Wildflower Seeds


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