It's time to think about planting your wildflower seeds, if you want things like Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes in your landscape next spring. In fact, wildflowers are becoming an increasingly popular landscape alternative by adding color and natural beauty to any area. Unlike the typical European-style formal gardens of straight lines, square corners and manicured edges, wildflower gardens have the appeal of low maintenance by requiring little water and reduced mowing frequency once established.
There is a common misconception today that wildflowers are easily grown from seed. Indeed, some species require little more effort than casting the seed on the soil and waiting for growth. Most wildflowers, however, require specific soil and temperature conditions, a certain degree of ongoing personal attention and most of all, patience. Most wildflower seed packets are labeled with an average "planting success" rate on a scale of 10% to 100%. Wildflower species with a lower percentage ratio may require more of your time and attention, but will be well worth your effort. Additional information about the temperament of each species in included within the description.
Unlike ornamental flower or vegetable seeds, most of the wildflower seeds have not been genetically altered to achieve specific traits such as rapid germination, height, color or adaptation to specific soil types or climates.
As wildflower enthusiasts, we want to produce in two to three years a display of color to match that which has taken Mother Nature hundreds of years to achieve. Nature plays an important role in the success or failure of all wildflower plantings. Adverse weather conditions such as drought, hail, or excessive rainfall-obviously beyond human control-may seriously affect the success of your wildflowers. Soil or drainage problems in the southern and western portions of the United States, USDA Zones 7 through 11, the autumn months of September through December are most favorable to plant your wildflowers.
In this part of the state, the months of October and November are considered the optimum time. Many of the species will quickly germinate in order to allow the seedling enough time to establish a healthy root system before going dormant in the winter. Some of the seeds may not germinate if the ground temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These seeds will remain dormant within the soil until early spring and will begin to emerge under more favorable conditions Before I send you to the best website, ever, for wildflowers in Texas, keep in mind the two main keys to success when sowing wildflowers. The seeds need to be in contact with soil, and you've got to keep a handle on weed control. In the meantime, here's the link to Wildseed Farms, based in Fredricksburg, Texas. You can order seeds and get all your questions answered about sowing wildflower seeds at www.wildseedfarms.com.
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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