Why Many Experts Feel Fall Planting Is Best

Fall Maximum Wildflower Seed MixFall Maximum Wildflower Seed Mix
Fall is the perfect time to sow wildflowers! Our Fall Maximum Wildflower Seed Mix is specifically designed for fall planting, and will have your garden bursting with blooms.

Nature Plants Wildflower Seed in the Fall

In the wild, as wildflowers bloom and ripen into seed all summer and into fall, the seed simply falls to the ground and is "planted". Of course, in general, Mother Nature has unlimited wildflower seeds to sow. In the wild all kinds of things happen; Seed falls on rocks, on other plants, etc., and never reaches the soil. This is the price a wild-sown seed pays, and billions are lost each fall.

When a wildflower gardener tries to emulate this process, we do all we can to "help nature along." That means, we clear the area, open the ground, provide good seed-to-soil contact for every seed, water if necessary, and do anything else to assure our seeding's success. It's easy and the work is the same as required for a spring planting. In fact, some people think fall planting is easier.

Fall Planting Results in Earlier Blooms

Like fall-seeded lawns, fall-planted wildflower seed has a chance to "settle" into your site during the winter, and is ready to burst into growth in early spring. This is why fall-planted wildflower seed is up and in bloom about two weeks earlier than spring-planted seed.

Red, blue, and white wildflower meadow mixture in full bloom featuring blue cornflowers, red poppies, and white yarrow. Red, blue, and white wildflower meadow mixture in full bloom featuring blue cornflowers, red poppies, and white yarrow.
All of our wildflower seeed mixtures are easy to grow, and designed to provide season long blooms. Blue cornflowers, red poppies, and white yarrow brighten any wildflower meadow.

There is More Time to Plant in Fall

Every fall-planting advocate mentions it. In the fall, the gardener has far more time to get work done for two reasons. First of all, there is a longer period and far more "good days" for planting in the fall than during the tricky weather in spring. Secondly, the gardener always has more time during the fall than during the spring rush to get everything done after winter. (Many wildgardeners combine wildflower seed planting with fall bulb planting, and that's always a good idea. The times for both are identical.)

Easier Weed Control

Fall planting is done after your growing season has ended. That means any weed seed in your soil is dormant, unlike in spring when it's highly energized and bursting to grow.

This dormant situation is a real help to the gardener. For example, if you clear your seeding site one weekend, and don't plant your wildflower seed until the next, that's fine in the fall, and not OK in the spring. Obviously, with the weed seed dormant, you can take your time. But in spring, it's necessary to clear and seed on the same day, because if you don't, the weed seeds (they're in ALL soil) have a jump on the wildflower seed you're about to put down to compete with them.

With a fall planting, the weeds that do grow up in your flowers are easily removed when they appear as small plants along with your wildflower seedlings in spring.

Wildflower Seeds For Fall Planting:

All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is 100% pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.

  1. spring into summer wildflower mix

    The Spring Into Summer Wildflower Seed Mix (formerly known as Summer Splash) offers up some of the biggest color of any mixture we carry! With 46 easy-to-grow species, this is a grea...

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    Spring Into Summer Seasonal Wildflower Seed Mix Spring Into Summer Seasonal Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $8.96
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Spring Into Summer Wildflower Seed Mix (formerly known as Summer Splash) offers up some of the biggest color of any mixture we carry! With 46 easy-to-grow species, this is a great choice for new garden beds, replacing part of your lawn, or creating a naturalized meadow. Packed with heat-tolerant quick bloomers, this mix can be planted well into the summer for color in the first season. An easy, rewarding mix for those new to wildflowers and experts alike.
    Learn More
  2. All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Simplicity

    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Simplicity features a bold, simple color palette with 10 easy-to-grow annual wildflower varieties. This mix of wildflowers will make for be...

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    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Simplicity All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Simplicity
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.96
    Per 1/4 Pound
    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Simplicity features a bold, simple color palette with 10 easy-to-grow annual wildflower varieties. This mix of wildflowers will make for beautiful natural bouquets with warm, harmonious colors. Watch as pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are attracted to your meadow. Annuals bloom just a few weeks after planting and continue from spring through frost. Plant in full sun. 100% pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds are is guaranteed to grow.
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  3. All Annual Wildflower Seed Mix

    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Variety will create a rainbow of color with 23 annual wildflower varieties. If you're looking for a quick-blooming meadow to give you armfu...

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    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Variety All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Variety
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.96
    Per 1/4 Pound
    All Annual Big Color Wildflower Seed Mix - Variety will create a rainbow of color with 23 annual wildflower varieties. If you're looking for a quick-blooming meadow to give you armfuls of cut-flower bouquets, this mix is for you! Blooming starts just weeks after planting and continues from spring all the way through frost, attracting a parade of pollinators along the way. Plant in full sun. This mix contains 100% pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds, and is guaranteed to grow. (Formerly known as our All Annual Mix).
    Learn More
  4. Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix

    The Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix contains 27 different annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Northeast. Exceptionally easy to grow, this mix brings a dyna...

    Learn More
    Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $9.46
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix contains 27 different annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Northeast. Exceptionally easy to grow, this mix brings a dynamic medley of blooms to the landscape throughout the entire summer season, with no gaps in color. Annual wildflowers like Calendula and Cornflower appear quickly in the first year, while perennial varieties like Wild Lupine and Echinacea provide many years of color starting in the second season. Designed for planting in: CT, ME, MA, RI, VT, NH, DE, PA, NY, NJ, MD, WV, QC and the Eastern Provinces, this mix contains only 100% Pure, non-GMO & neonicotinoid-free seeds.
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  5. Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix

    The Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix is comprised of 28 different wildflower species, all perfect for planting in the Heartland of the USA. Designed to provide nonstop season-long color, ...

    Learn More
    Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $9.46
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix is comprised of 28 different wildflower species, all perfect for planting in the Heartland of the USA. Designed to provide nonstop season-long color, annuals like Plains Coreopsis and Sulphur Cosmos burst into bloom their very first summer, while perennial varieties like Purple Prairie Clover and Black Eyed Susan deliver color for many years, starting in their second season. Contains 100% Pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free seeds best for planting in: IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, WI and Ontario.
    Learn More
  6. Deer Resistant Wildflower Seed Mix

    Containing 17 wildflowers that deter deer and other critters, the Deer Resistant Wildflower Mix brings loads of colorful blooms to the landscape. Perennials like Lupine, Gaillardia a...

    Learn More
    Deer Resistant Wildflower Seed Mix Deer Resistant Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $10.95 Sale $9.86
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Containing 17 wildflowers that deter deer and other critters, the Deer Resistant Wildflower Mix brings loads of colorful blooms to the landscape. Perennials like Lupine, Gaillardia and Lance Leaf Coreopsis return and multiply each season, while annual varieties like California Poppy, Zinnia and Scarlet Sage burst into blooms the very first year. Growing well in most regions (zones 1-8), the Deer Resistant Wildflower Mix contains only 100% pure, non-GMO neonicotinoid-free seeds. Guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More
  7. Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix

    Containing 26 different wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Southeastern US, the Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix brings steady color to the landscape throughout the summer seas...

    Learn More
    Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $8.96
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Containing 26 different wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Southeastern US, the Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix brings steady color to the landscape throughout the summer season. Blooming in the first year, annual wildflowers like Cosmos and Rose Mallow deliver quick, bold color while perennial varieties like Scarlet Sage and Shasta Daisy offer years of lasting blooms beginning in their second season. Features 100% Pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds for planting in: AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, East TX, and VA.
    Learn More
  8. Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix - California Poppy & Lupine

    The Southwest Wildflower Mix is comprised of 26 different wildflowers that will thrive in the Southwest region of the country. Designed to create show-stopping color all season long,...

    Learn More
    Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $8.96
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Southwest Wildflower Mix is comprised of 26 different wildflowers that will thrive in the Southwest region of the country. Designed to create show-stopping color all season long, this mix will burst into blooms the first year with annual wildflowers like African Daisy and California Poppy, and will provide color in years after with perennial varieties like Oxeye Daisy and Mexican Hat. For best results, plant in AZ, Southern CA, NM, Southern NV, OK and Western TX. All of the seed we offer at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More

How To Plant Wildflowers in the Fall

You will find extensive details on Fall Planting in our Wildflower How-To's, including an in-depth comprehensive planting guide on why Fall Is For Planting Wildflowers.

The actual planting of your seed in fall is the same as it is in spring, except the weather is usually better and you can choose the time.

  1. Choose your site and best planting time. Full sun is best, and a "border area" between lawn and woods or a more natural area is perfect. Planting should be done AFTER a killing frost in your area, or after you're quite sure the growing season has ended, and your seed won't sprout until spring. In heavy winter areas, that means from late September or October up until the ground freezes. (If you don't have much frost in your area, you should plant just before your rainiest season begins. South Florida plants annuals in the fall for winter bloom. Coastal areas on the Pacific can plant anytime during the late fall or winter.)

  2. Clear the ground of existing growth (grass, weeds, roots, other plants in the area.) For small areas, this means turning the soil with a shovel, and then removing all the old growth. For larger areas, most wild gardeners use a rototiller. (If you don't own one, rental stores have them, or your local landscaper will be happy to help you.) If you till, till just deep enough to remove the old growth. Deep tilling tends to bring up more weed seed into the surface soil.

  3. Spread the seed evenly over the bare soil. The best way to be sure it's even is to split your wildflower seed into two roughly equal parts in two buckets or cans. Then add a quantity of white builders sand (Use the clean sand used in children's' sandboxes) to each bucket and mix the seed well with the sand. Then take your first bucket of sand/seed mix, and hand-broadcast it evenly over your entire prepared site. Next, take the second half and do the same, walking in the reverse direction. This makes it almost impossible to leave bare spots in your seeding, and assures even distribution of the various wildflowers in the mix you're planting. The white sand not only makes the seed easier to sow, but it also shows up on the dirt, to show you "where you've been."

  4. Don't cover the seed, just compress the whole area. Once your seed is sown, it's important to "squash" the seed into the loose, bare soil. To do this for small areas, just walk over it, and your footprints will do it. Just make sure you compress the entire area. (Kids love to help with this.) For medium sized areas, we often lay down a piece of plywood, and jump on it. For larger areas, a lawn roller is the best. Even without being filled with water, they do a perfect job of "putting your seeding to bed for the winter."

  5. That's it. Do not cover, and forget the birds if they arrive. Once your seed is compressed on the surface of the soil, you're finished. Do not cover it, Do not rake it. Leave peat moss and especially hay OUT of this project. They're not needed. In fact, even though hay is sometimes put on newly-seeded lawns, don't do that to your wildflowers. Hay is full of weed seed, and remember, you're not going to mow what comes up here, as you would a lawn. If you've planted a slope, you can put down WEED-FREE straw if you can get it to prevent erosion during the winter. But if you've compressed the soil well, most inclined sites will be just fine through the winter.

    Birds may arrive and begin pecking at (yes, eating) your seed. It that happens, don't worry. It almost always happens to our plantings, and even if it's a flock, they are never able to eat enough to put a dent in the meadow results.

What to Expect in Spring

When the weather warms in spring, you'll notice your seed sprouting early, just like fall-planted grass seed. Usually, you won't have to water, since spring weather is almost always wet enough. But if you suddenly see your little seedling area dry out, water immediately. No matter when you plant, your wildflower plants are the most vulnerable when they're very young.

 

Blue, Purple, and Yellow Wildflower Meadow Mix with blooming coreopsis, red poppies, and multi-colored bachelor buttons. Blue, Purple, and Yellow Wildflower Meadow Mix with blooming coreopsis, red poppies, and multi-colored bachelor buttons.
With Wildflowers, it's easy to create an ever-changing landscape of color.

Normally, they'll be just fine and bloom should begin in as little as 5 weeks after you see the first seedlings. (Some wildflowers bloom very quickly.) Pull unwanted weeds as they appear, and as the spring and summer weeks go by, you'll see more and more species, and more and more color appear in your meadow. By July, you'll be taking in armloads of cut flowers, and giving bouquets to friends. That's the great joy of a wildflower planting.

Still have questions?

Our team of expert gardeners is on hand to answer your calls Monday through Saturday:

877 - 309 - 7333

Fall Planting Results in Earlier Blooms

Like fall-seeded lawns, fall-planted wildflower seed has a chance to "settle" into your site during the winter, and is ready to burst into growth in early spring. This is why fall-planted wildflower seed is up and in bloom about two weeks earlier than spring-planted seed.

There is More Time to Plant in Fall

Lupine MixEvery fall-planting advocate mentions it. In the fall, the gardener has far more time to get work done for two reasons. First of all, there is a longer period and far more "good days" for planting in the fall than during the tricky weather in spring. Secondly, the gardener always has more time during the fall than during the spring rush to get everything done after winter. (Many wildgardeners combine wildflower seed planting with fall bulb planting, and that's always a good idea. The times for both are identical.)

Easier Weed Control

Fall planting is done after your growing season has ended. That means any weed seed in your soil is dormant, unlike in spring when it's highly energized and bursting to grow.

This dormant situation is a real help to the gardener. For example, if you clear your seeding site one weekend, and don't plant your wildflower seed until the next, that's fine in the fall, and not OK in the spring. Obviously, with the weed seed dormant, you can take your time. But in spring, it's necessary to clear and seed on the same day, because if you don't, the weed seeds (they're in ALL soil) have a jump on the wildflower seed you're about to put down to compete with them.

With a fall planting, the weeds that do grow up in your flowers are easily removed when they appear as small plants along with your wildflower seedlings in spring.

How To Plant Wildflowers in the Fall

You will find extensive details on Fall Planting in our Wildflower How-To's, including a detailed account on how to create your own Wildflower Meadow.

The actual planting of your seed in fall is the same as it is in spring, except the weather is usually better and you can choose the time.

  1. Choose your site and best planting time. Full sun is best, and a "border area" between lawn and woods or a more natural area is perfect. Planting should be done AFTER a killing frost in your area, or after you're quite sure the growing season has ended, and your seed won't sprout until spring. In heavy winter areas, that means from late September or October up until the ground freezes. (If you don't have much frost in your area, you should plant just before your rainiest season begins. South Florida plants annuals in the fall for winter bloom. Coastal areas on the Pacific can plant anytime during the late fall or winter.)

  2. Clear the ground of existing growth (grass, weeds, roots, other plants in the area.) For small areas, this means turning the soil with a shovel, and then removing all the old growth. For larger areas, most wild gardeners use a rototiller. (If you don't own one, rental stores have them, or your local landscaper will be happy to help you.) If you till, till just deep enough to remove the old growth. Deep tilling tends to bring up more weed seed into the surface soil.

  3. Spread the seed evenly over the bare soil. The best way to be sure it's even is to split your wildflower seed into two roughly equal parts in two buckets or cans. Then add a quantity of white builders sand (Use the clean sand used in children's' sandboxes) to each bucket and mix the seed well with the sand. Then take your first bucket of sand/seed mix, and hand-broadcast it evenly over your entire prepared site. Next, take the second half and do the same, walking in the reverse direction. This makes it almost impossible to leave bare spots in your seeding, and assures even distribution of the various wildflowers in the mix you're planting. The white sand not only makes the seed easier to sow, but it also shows up on the dirt, to show you "where you've been."

  4. Don't cover the seed, just compress the whole area. Once your seed is sown, it's important to "squash" the seed into the loose, bare soil. To do this for small areas, just walk over it, and your footprints will do it. Just make sure you compress the entire area. (Kids love to help with this.) For medium sized areas, we often lay down a piece of plywood, and jump on it. For larger areas, a lawn roller is the best. Even without being filled with water, they do a perfect job of "putting your seeding to bed for the winter."

  5. That's it. Do not cover, and forget the birds if they arrive. Once your seed is compressed on the surface of the soil, you're finished. Do not cover it, Do not rake it. Leave peat moss and especially hay OUT of this project. They're not needed. In fact, even though hay is sometimes put on newly-seeded lawns, don't do that to your wildflowers. Hay is full of weed seed, and remember, you're not going to mow what comes up here, as you would a lawn. If you've planted a slope, you can put down WEED-FREE straw if you can get it to prevent erosion during the winter. But if you've compressed the soil well, most inclined sites will be just fine through the winter.

    Birds may arrive and begin pecking at (yes, eating) your seed. It that happens, don't worry. It almost always happens to our plantings, and even if it's a flock, they are never able to eat enough to put a dent in the meadow results.

What to Expect in Spring

Lupine and DaisiesWhen the weather warms in spring, you'll notice your seed sprouting early, just like fall-planted grass seed. Usually, you won't have to water, since spring weather is almost always wet enough. But if you suddenly see your little seedling area dry out, water immediately. No matter when you plant, your wildflower plants are the most vulnerable when they're very young.

Normally, they'll be just fine and bloom should begin in as little as 5 weeks after you see the first seedlings. (Some wildflowers bloom very quickly.) Pull unwanted weeds as they appear, and as the spring and summer weeks go by, you'll see more and more species, and more and more color appear in your meadow. By July, you'll be taking in armloads of cut flowers, and giving bouquets to friends. That's the great joy of a wildflower planting.

If you have any further questions, read our "Wildflower Seed How-To" articles. And if that doesn't answer your question, please always feel free to give our gardening experts a call at (877) 309-7333.

Shop for Wildflower Seed.
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