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A field of wildflowers with poppies, gloriosa daisies, and bachelor's buttons

How To Grow Wildflowers From Seed

Wildflowers are some of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow. Seeds are a miracle of nature, holding the spark of life inside themselves that can stay viable for many years, even decades or centuries if storage conditions are optimum. 

Wildflowers require little water once established, and provide show-stopping color year after year. They also help provide food and habitat for local wildlife and pollinators, including birds, butterflies, bees, and more. Seeds are also a very cost-effective way to plant your property with a wide variety of wildflower species, especially when rehabilitating or restoring larger yards and fields.

Thinking of planting wildflowers this season? Follow this guide, and you'll be thanking yourself once your garden or meadow is bursting with blooms.

How To Grow Wildflowers From Seed:

  1. Plan Your Wildflower Planting
  2. Prepare Your Site For Planting
  3. Plant Your Wildflower Seeds
  4. Watering Your Wildflowers
  5. What To Expect While Your Wildflowers Grow

1. Plan Your Wildflower Planting

Planning includes choosing where to plant wildflowers, calculating how much seed you need, and timing your wildflower planting, 

Plan Where To Plant

  • Choose a spot on your property that receives at least 6 hours of sun per day. The more sun, the better with Wildflowers. South-facing spaces will receive the most sunlight throughout the day.
  • Good soil drainage is needed for healthy root growth.
  • If anything is growing in the area, such as grass or weeds, the area should support wildflowers.

Plan How Much Seed 

  1. Measure the area where you will plant your wildflowers and calculate the square footage of your planting area. 
  2. Then, reference the seed coverage rates for your wildflower seeds or wildflower mix. This information is listed under the “Key Features” of every product page. Seed coverage rates vary greatly with individual wildflower species, so it's important to check before planting.
  3. For best results, plant the recommended amount of seed for your area. Too little, and your planting will be sparse. Too much, and your seedlings will be crowded, resulting in poor flowering.

Plan When To Plant 

In all areas, you can seed in spring, just as long as the chance for frost has passed. Fall, just before the rainy season, is the best time for sowing seeds in the desert Southwest. In areas that get snowfall, winter seeding can give seeds a leg up in spring. 

Spring Planting:

  • Spring is a great time to plant Wildflowers in most states. In spring, wait until your ground temperatures have warmed to 55°F, and there is no chance of frost in your area. 
  • If you're in a warmer climate, where spring and summer heat up early, you will want to plant at the tail end of your "rainy season" which will give the seeds plenty of natural water to germinate.

Fall/Winter Planting:

  • Fall planting is a great choice for dry areas, as it allows you to take advantage of winter precipitation and cooler temperatures to help seedlings grow. 
  • Planting in the fall gives the seed a jump start on spring growth once the ground thaws. It also helps to reduce the growth of weeds, as the wildflowers get the chance to start growing and take over the weeds in the early spring. 

Fall/winter planting in areas with cold winters, hard frosts & frozen ground: 

  • If you live in an area where you have a true "winter season," meaning you receive hard frost and the ground stays frozen for several months, then fall is the perfect time to plant! 
  • Wait until you've had several killing frosts and ground temperatures are cool enough that the seeds will not get the chance to germinate until the spring. 

If you are in an area where your ground does not freeze (California, southern Texas, or Florida, etc.): 

  • The best time to plant is just before your rainiest season begins, so the weather won't be too hot for young seedlings. In Florida, fall is best. In California and Texas, most wildflowers are planted during the winter to take advantage of early spring greening.

2. Prepare Your Site For Planting

Preparation is an important step for any new planting. Wildflowers often thrive in poor soil, but for best results, you'll need to remove existing growth and loosen the soil to create the best conditions for seedlings to grow.

To prepare your soil to create a nice seed bed, remove all existing growth from your planting area, including grass and weeds. Dig up everything that is growing, turn the soil over, and rake out debris from the area before spreading any seed. This will encourage good seed-to-soil contact, which in turn promotes better germination and less stress for seedlings. 


  • If you are seeding into what used to be a lawn or recently cultivated crop field, the time needed to prepare the site for planting is much less than seeding an old overgrown farm field choked with weeds and shrubs or other invasive species. If your area to be seeded has a lot of desirable species already on site, you may just need to prepare small pockets scattered around the site to seed while leaving the established plants undisturbed.
  • If planting in an area previously occupied by turf grass, consider solarizing or smothering the area to kill weeds and grass, using the power of the sun. You may need to till the area if there is an excess of grass, weeds, etc. on your property.
  • Do not sow seeds into your lawn without preparing your soil – grasses and weeds are vigorous growers that can out-compete wildflower seedlings. Preparing your soil will give seedlings the best chance to thrive.

3. Plant Your Wildflower Seeds

  1. Mix the wildflower seed with sand for better visibility. Mix 8 parts sand to 1 part seed. 
  2. Sow your seeds in two batches. Separate your seed & sand mixture into two equal parts. With the first half, walk back and forth across your site from north to south, spreading the seeds as evenly as possible. Then, take the second half and walk east to west, spreading seeds in a similar manner. If you're planting a larger area, use a seed spreader. If it's a smaller area, you can simply spread the seed by hand.
  3. After spreading the seed, compress the seed into the soil. The better seed-to-soil contact, the better chance of germination. Use a sod roller, a small 2 ft x 2 ft piece of plywood, or cardboard that you can stand on to press seeds into the soil. To allow the seeds full sunlight, do not cover them in any way. 
  4. After planting, give the area a good soaking. 
  5. We recommend watering regularly (but not soaking the area) until seedlings are about 6-8" tall. 

4. Watering Your Wildflowers

Water as needed to keep soil and seedlings moist until they are 6 - 8 inches tall, which typically takes 4 - 6 weeks. At that point, they will be able to absorb groundwater through their roots to grow strong and healthy all on their own.

If you have hot, sunny, and/or dry weather, you may need to water your planting to help seedlings establish. Be sure to give a thorough watering in the morning before a hot day, and also give a thorough watering the next morning. A sprinkler attached to a timer is an easy and affordable way to water your planting without disrupting your regular schedule.

What can you do in areas where you cannot water? 

  • Time your planting with rain in the forecast, and sow your seeds on a rainy day. 
  • Or, you plant seeds in fall when you can take advantage of winter precipitation. 
  • Lack of moisture can slow down germination. Be patient - at some point, you should have enough rain or precipitation to germinate your seeds. 
  • In the heat of the summer, if you can’t water, you may see reduced flowering.
  • Don’t worry! Think about wildflowers growing in the wild - it may take more time than in an area where you could water with a hose, but you will still have a beautiful meadow.

5. What To Expect While Your Wildflowers Grow

When Will Wildflowers Bloom? 

Spring Planting

  • Seeds will germinate as soon as your soil temperature has warmed to 55°F or warmer. 
  • As long as the soil is warm, and there is enough sunlight and moisture, you'll begin to see growth appear in about 1-3 weeks.

Fall Planting

  • Seeds will lay dormant over the winter. 
  • Then, in spring, seeds will germinate as soon as your soil temperature has warmed to 55°F or warmer. See notes on spring growth above.

See Your Soil Temperature Here

Know Wildflower Lifecycles To Know Flowering Times

  • Annual wildflowers bloom with 6-12 weeks of germination. Annuals have a one-year lifecycle and bloom from spring until frost. 
  • Biennials have a two-year life cycle. In the first year, they establish foliage, and they bloom in the second year. 
  • Perennials require a full season of growth to establish root systems, and will begin blooming in their second year. They return year after year from the same root system.
  • Growing a wildflower mix? Some of our wildflower mixes are all annuals, and some are a mix of annuals, perennials, and/or biennials. 

Weeding Tips

  • Pulling or snipping weeds will help to encourage healthy growth in your wildflowers. This can be done by hand weeding in small areas, or mowing in larger areas where hand weeding isn't practical.
  • When hand weeding, It's better to cut the weeds off just below the soil line with a weed fork or a Hori Hori knife (or similar implement) instead of pulling the weeds. Cutting weeds avoids disturbing the soil and creating an inviting space for undesirable seeds to germinate. 
  • Be sure you can identify seedlings of the seeds you sowed so that you don't weed them out by accident. Not sure if it's a wildflower or a weed? You can use a plant identification app, or wait until the plant blooms to make it easier to identify.

Patience Is Key

Seeding can be a thrilling experience. But success can take time. Sometimes it will take a couple or three growing seasons to establish a beautiful wildflower meadow, especially when seeding a large area with perennial plants. We often recommend choosing mixtures with annuals included, as you will get quick blooming results while the perennials mature.

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If you have further questions about planting Wildflowers, contact our helpful gardening team: Contact Us

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