Annual Flowers – Wildflowers – 6 Advantages and 2 Keys to Success

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Although perennials are the backbone and foundation of a garden, annuals add that extra dimension and make a dazzling colorful display when your borders might otherwise be lacking.

Great Advantages (the first 3)

Annuals in the form of wildflowers are so easy to grow from seed that almost anyone can afford them and grow them en masse as they are meant to be grown. They don’t need much attention and their spectacular colorful displays are un-matched.

Something for Everyone and Every Condition –  (Another Advantage)

As with perennials — they come in all shapes and sizes.  Whatever conditions exist in your yard and gardens — there  are  wildflowers perfectly suited for them — shade or sun; wet or dry; clay or sand. All it takes is a little willingness to try something new each year and you’ll find all the ones that are perfectly suited for your garden.

Flanders Field Poppies

Flanders Field Poppies

Possibly You’ll Never Buy the Seed Again – (Another Advantage)

Although they only bloom for one year, whereas perennials keep coming back year after year, most wildflowers reseed readily. (That’s how they survive in the wild.)

You can collect the seed to make sure you never have to buy them again — but more than likely if allowed to remain undisturbed when they drop — they’ll come back next year.

Easy Prep is a BIG Advantage

If you want to prepare an area especially for wildflowers all you need do is remove the growth — grass and weeds.

Loosen the top couple of inches of the soil and sow your wildflower seeds. After all – that’s how Mother Nature plants them.

What if your Beds have already been Deeply Prepared?

You’ll benefit. It’s just a fact that most plants will put down deeper roots if they can.  With deeply prepared soil — it  makes even your wildflower beds — that much better.

Conventional vs. My Unconventional Wisdom regarding When to Plant

All the instructions I’ve seen that come with wildflower seeds tell you to sow the seed when all danger of frost has past.  Many years ago – when I bought my first wildflower seeds — I followed those directions.  It just got too hot and too dry for the seeds to do well.  (And I’m not set up to water.)

I think the reasoning behind the instructions is that when you plant in late winter some of the seedlings that come up may be killed by a hard freeze or frost.  Obviously whatever company sells the seed doesn’t want to be responsible for your loss.  Thus, I think that’s where those instructions come from.

Nonetheless, according to all the folks who sell wildflowers — you are not suppose to plant in the spring until after danger of frost is past.

In spite of that I’ve found over the years that I have the best success when I start sowing in mid or late winter. (The exception would be those hot weather annuals that you know to be susceptible to killing frosts —- like cosmos and zinnias.)

Two Keys to Success

  • #1 – Sowing my seed early — starting in January or February — depending on the weather. You don’t want to be out their sowing seed when the ground is covered with deep snow.
  • #2 – Sowing seed in succession rather than all at once.

Advantages of Succession Sowing

  • By sowing at least four times in late winter/early spring, I can be confident that if I loose some of the seedlings that germinate — I won’t loose that many.

Conditions will be a bit different every time you sow.  That’s what you want.  Different variables.  Some seed will do better at your first sowing — others will do better at your last.

  • By staggering the plantings of your wildflowers (succession sowing) you’ll have more bloom for a longer period of time.  Possibly your bloom will extend well into fall depending on what you plant and when.

Stay Tuned

I’ll cover whether or not you should water your wildflowers and whether or not you should plant your annual wildflowers via the wintersown method in the next two posts.

Final Thought

If you haven’t already — plan for an extraordinary season of color and beautiful bloom: Take advantage of Mother Nature’s annual Wildflowers.

Sources for Seed:



Vermont Wildflower Farm — just click on the logo:

Suggested Reading:

Wildflowers – An Easy Bed

Wildflower – Sweet William – Great in Flower Borders

Backyard Landscaping Ideas – Wildflowers


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2 comments to Annual Flowers – Wildflowers – 6 Advantages and 2 Keys to Success

  • Sandra

    Perfect for a snowy morning in January, Theresa. When the weather moderates early next week, we can be ready. I love the tip about sowing several times.
    I think I heard it on Tending My Garden, to also try a couple of different planting spots too – I’ve been surprised by how well things will do if I just move them into a slightly different area of my small yard.

    I don’t usually try flowers via the winter sown method, so I’ll be tuning in to hear your thoughts about that. New to me this year. I usually just sprinkle directly.

  • Theresa

    Our yards are “worlds” on a small scale. It really is amazing the difference a few feet or the other side of the property can make in how a plant does.

    The snow is beautiful today. Just the right amount — and dry. It stayed nice so long I don’t mind a “few days” of winter weather. Any way you shake it — spring is just around the corner, Sandra.

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