01 June 2013

Succeed with Wildflowers

Every year we purchase and grow from seed more and more native plants for our gardens. They require so much less care and live so much longer than many hybrid plants.

Why does anyone plant wildflowers anyway? We love their carefree appearance, their low need for fertilizer, water and bug/disease sprays. That's not to say they are completely without effort since we want our garden to please our eyes as well as the critters who live out there.

The MO Wildflowers Nursery (http://www.mowildflowers.net/catalog) has a page of tips for success with wildflowers. Here are their tips with my brief commentary following each.

Start with plants not seeds
- quicker fill
Think about design
- even wildflower beds need a border to look pleasing
- use a variety of plants for continuous bloom, texture and color complementarity
Mulch beds soon after planting
- control weeds with mulch or ground cover
Amend the soil in shady flower beds
- forest dwelling plants have a few inches of natural organic material in nature
Amending soil in sunny flower beds isn't necessary
- sun loving wildflowers thrive in topsoil
Fertilizer and lime?
- get a soil test
Watering wildflower gardens
- water at planting time, then again when inspection says the soil is dry
Deadheading
- leave the seeds for wildlife or prune to please yourself
Keep the weeds out
- remain vigilant
Encourage shade-loving wildflowers to reproduce
- remove tree leaves by the end of Feb. to allow wildflower seeds to germinate in place
Clean beds annually
- at the end of February

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