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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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To understand and discuss wildflowers, and when using wildflower identification books and other sources, it's necessary to become familiar with a few basic botanical terms which describe flowers and plants.
A flower begins at the top of the plant's stalk and consists of the following parts:
To understand how wildflowers grow and reproduce, it's important to know which type of plant is being discussed. These plant types, of course, apply not only to wildflowers, but to all the thousands of hybrids that have been "made" from them as garden flowers we all enjoy. Remember, every flower is descended from a wildflower (or more than one) that is native somewhere on earth.
Annual wildflowers are the ones which grow quickly from seed, bloom usually for a long period (about two months, on average), and then die with the first hard frost. This means annual wildflowers live only one growing season. They are propagated by dropping their seeds as their flowers fade. This tells you that if you know of an annual that "came back" for a second year after a winter, it simply re-grew the second year from seed it produced the year before. This is called "self-sowing, and usually happens only when annual seed falls on bare ground. Most wild annuals are native to open spaces, rather than areas that are, or were originally, wooded. Popular wild annuals are the European red poppy and North America's plains coreopsis.
Perennial wildflowers are the ones that "come back" each year from the same roots, forming larger and larger clumps with more and more flowers as they age. From seed, they germinate more slowly than most annuals, and make minor above-ground growth during their first growing season. Bloom usually begins their second growing season, and a perennial's season of bloom is usually much shorter than that of an annual. (The average perennial blooms for about two weeks.) Examples of perennials are common daisies, purple coneflower, St. Johnswort, and the goldenrods. Some perennials live to return year after year for decades or even centuries. Others are what botanists call "short-lived", which usually means the plant persists for less than five years.
The third and smallest group of wildflowers are the biennials. These plants have a two-year life-cycle. Like perennials, they normally do not bloom their first year, but bloom and seed profusely-- for a comparatively long period-- their second. Common examples of biennials are our common roadside weed, Queen Anne's lace, and one of North America's most popular native flowers, the black-eyed Susan.
The classification system of scientific names applied to plants and animals.
The official accepted name of a wildflower, usually based on Latin or Greek. This name consists of a “genus” name followed by a “species” name. Example: Black-eyed Susan’s botanical name is Rudbeckia hirta. Read more
The “first name” in a plant’s botanical name. See example in above entry for Rudbeckia.
The “second name” in a plant’s botanical name. See example in above entries for hirta.
The popularly used English name for a North American wildflower. Example: Black-eyed Susan. Read more
A wildflower species that occurs naturally in the place it is found. Read more
A wildflower that is native elsewhere, but has adapted to the wild where it is found. Read more
A wildflower species that is native to another continent. Read more
A wildflower species that is native to another continent.. Read more
An agressive wildflower species that tends to dominate others. Read more
An invasive wildflower species that causes serious environmental damage. Read more
A weedy plant that is considered a pest in a particular place. Read more