A wildflower meadow tucked in between houses or on the edge of a residential property is a pleasant surprise for neighbors and can create carefree beauty after years of establishment. Beginning a wildflower garden with seeds, however, takes some preparation and forethought in order to create that look of capricious elegance for which wildflower stands are popular.
Choose a site based on the local wildflower type you are trying to propagate. Prairie meadow flowers, for example, are best suited to a full sun site with good drainage and warm, dry soil. Woodland wildflowers prefer shade and soil with more moisture, and may require soil amendment with peat moss or organic matter to thrive. Hillsides are also desirable locations for wildflower gardens.
Prepare the site with an herbicide that contains the active ingredients glyphosate or glufosinate to kill weeds, applied at 1 month and then 1 week before planting. The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends steering clear of any herbicide with active ingredients other than these. Always follow manufacturer directions and only use when necessary.
Sow wildflower seeds in spring after frost danger is past or, in areas where seeds can overwinter in the soil, in the autumn. Mix seeds with sand to ensure better adhesion to the top soil. A rate of about 10 pounds of seed per acre or up to 5 ounces per 1,000 square foot is an advisable ratio.
Use a broadcast spreader to evenly distribute wildflower seeds over the prepared area.
Rake the area and firm the soil to promote soil and seed contact.
Mulch the area lightly using straw, pine needles or wood chips. Protecting the seeds and holding in moisture is key to proper germination.
Keep the area moist for at least 4 to 6 weeks while germination occurs. Once the plants are more established, natural rain cycles should maintain the beauty of the stand for seasons to come.