Growing a wildflower meadow from seed

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A wildflower meadow is a thing of beauty like no other.  It is an ever-changing, evolving ecosystem with a unique colour scheme and character.  And it’s easy to grow a small one in your own garden.

wildflower mini meadow with harebell

A wildflower patch in your garden can be stunningly beautiful and it's great for wildlife - and for photography

There are three basic ways of creating a wild flower meadow. 

  • Using a wild flower turf such as Meadowmat
  • Letting your lawn grow longer and plug planting with wild flowers
  • Sowing wild flower seed.

By far the cheapest of these is sowing wildflower seed.

What time of year is best for sowing wildflower seed?

Mother Nature sows most of her wildflower seeds in the autumn – so for best results, so should you.

Between September and November the soil is still fairly warm and there’s plenty of rain to keep the young plants well-watered.  When we start getting early morning frosts, it’s unlikely that seeds will germinate in the soil, so postpone the work for a while and try again in early spring.

Spring time is also great for sowing wildflower seeds.  Again, the soil is warm, the days are getting longer and the rain is plentiful.

How to prepare the soil for wildflower seed

No need to fuss around with greenhouses, propagators, pricking out and transplanting.  Sow wildflower seed directly into the soil where you want the plants to grow.

First, dig the area to a depth of around 15cm.  Remove every last piece of plant material and take out any large stones.

Soil already prepared for sowing wildflower seeds

This garden in Leeds has been prepared to recieve Meadowmat wild flower turf - but could just as easily have wildflower seed sown into it.  The texture is lovely and friable, there is no debris or plant material hidden in it and all big stones have been removed.

Soil type is important when growing wild flowers.  If the area has previously been used for gardening or for farming the soil is likely to be rich with nutrients.  For normal gardening that’s a good thing.  For wild flowers it’s a bad thing.

For your meadow to succeed you must make sure that the soil you’re sowing seeds into is low in nutrients.  If you’re at all unsure, dig out as much topsoil as you can and replace it with low nutrient soil.

When the area has been dug over.  Rake it over to make sure all debris has gone and to level out the surface.

Gently sprinkle your wildflower seed onto the prepared surface.  Try to get even coverage and avoid sowing the seeds too close together.  Remember, the plants will need plenty of space to grow.

DO NOT COVER THE SEED.  Most wildflowers need sunlight to encourage them to germinate. 

Water in gently, being careful not to wash the seed away.

Keep the soil moist until seeds have germinated and the plants are looking robust and healthy.

What does wildflower seed cost?

Cost depends on the mix of plant species that you choose.  There are four different seedmixes available from Meadowmat – one of the UK’s leading wildflower specialists.  These range in price from £9.99 to £19.99.  That price is correct as of August 2016 and includes post and packaging.

boxes of wild flower seed

A 20g packet contains enough seed to populate an area of 4 square metres. 

If you’re seeding a large wildflower area then it’s well worth contacting Harrowden Turf (the growers of Meadowmat) and talking to them about wholesale prices.

Where can I buy wildflower seed?

Order online at www.meadowmat.com or phone the friendly people at Harrowden Turf on 01842 828266 who will be able to help you find what you need.

Order wild flower seed online


More articles about growing a wildflower meadow

Which wild flowers grow in my area

Creating a wild flower meadow using Meadowmat

Caring for your wild flower meadow

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