Wildflowers planted on hillsides, or in fields, give the illusion of springing from nature, adding a mass of color to the landscape. Although wildflowers are hardy and require little care once established, according to “Wildflowers in Bloom” maintained by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the idea that wildflowers are grown easily by casting seed on the soil and forgetting them is a misconception. Many wildflowers require soil preparation, care in broadcasting seeds and consistent water until they have become established in the area.
Remove vegetation in an area that receives full sun for at least six to eight hours a day. Although wildflowers thrive in poor soil, many suffer in wet soil. Avoid areas that remain moist during the summer months.
Cultivate the soil to a depth of no more than 1 inch. Use a garden tiller, claw or rake to turn the soil. Remove any plant debris, weeds or sod. Wildflowers may thrive in poor soil, but should not be planted in weeds or grass.
Mix your wildflower seeds with perlite, peat moss or sand to make sowing easier and to allow for more even distribution of seeds. Combine one part wildflower seeds to four parts inert filler material. Some wildflower seeds come in containers with inert material included. Check the package to find out if your seed mixture contains inert material to determine if you need to add filler before sowing wildflower seeds.
Sprinkle half of the seed mixture over the garden bed following a side-to-side motion. Spread the seeds evenly across the width of the garden. Repeat the procedure spreading seeds from the front to the back of the garden.
Press the seeds into the soil with a roller, back of the hoe blade or by walking over the area. Press seeds no deeper than 1/8 inch. Larger seeds may be visible on the top of the soil.
Water the area lightly with the spray attachment to your hose to moisten the soil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Keep the area evenly moist for four to six weeks until seedlings emerge. The amount of water needed depends on rainfall and weather conditions in your area. During periods of warm dry weather, daily watering may be required.
Reduce water gradually once seedlings are 2 to 4 inches high. Once established, water only when plants show signs of wilting or the soil becomes excessively dry.