If you decide to buy wildflower plants, make sure that they are “nursery propagated,” meaning that someone has grown them in cultivation. Plants labeled merely as “nursery grown,” or with no notes about their origin, may have been collected in the wild, stuck in a pot for a few weeks, and then set out for sale. Sure, they may be a little cheaper, but it’s worth paying more for plants that were produced responsibly, without harming natural populations. Another alternative is to start your wildflowers from seed.
One special group of wildflowers is the early bloomers known as spring ephemerals. These delicate beauties emerge in early spring, do their thing, and then retreat back into the ground by midsummer. This makes them a perfect choice for planting under deciduous trees—you have a bounty of color in spring, and the plants will store up all the energy they need before the trees fully leaf out. Some of the most beautiful and easiest to grow spring ephemerals include bloodroot, May apple, and Virginia bluebells.
Most woodland wildflowers grow best in light shade—with a few hours of morning sun or with dappled shade all day. Shade-loving wildflowers thrive in humus-rich soil, so work plenty of compost into the soil before planting, and mulch with chopped leaves through the year.
If you want to try your hand at a meadow garden, go ahead. It’s easier than you think! Water it lightly, but often, during the first three to four weeks after seeding, to encourage good germination. Pull any weeds that appear. Each year, mow your meadow in the fall or early spring. During the growing season, keep after the weeds with my Easy Weed Killer Tonic:
- 1 gallon of white vinegar,
- 1 cup of table salt, and
- 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap.
Mix all of the ingredients together and spray on weeds; just make sure you don’t get it on the plants you want to keep!
Perfect Perennials For Sunny Meadows
Bring the beauty of nature to your backyard with a meadow planting of these pretty, sun-loving perennials:
- Black-eyed Susan
- Butterfly weed
- New England aster
- Purple coneflower