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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    469

    Default Growing Wildflowers, how?

    This is my third year in attempting to get a nice patch of wild flowers going and each has met with miserable failure.

    First year I simply mowed the grass to the lowest level, sowed the seeds and raked them in. Very few of the seeds took and they were largely overrun by the other grass and vegetation.

    Next year I tried a minimal tilling. Breaking the soil roughly and followed the same process, with the same results.

    Last year I completely tilled a spot, breaking up the soil nicely and tilling under all the existing vegetation. Then sowed the seeds...and got the same results.

    I have even tried growing some in potting soil and transplanting them. I got some decent flowers the first year, but no reseeding the next year.

    I was under the impression, mistakenly apparently, that wild prairy flowers were a hardy bunch that grew like weeds...but I can't get them to grow. I want to get a half acre to acre plot going so I can't be singularly replanting the flowers every year. Anyone have any suggestions on a better, more successful approach to this?

    FWIW I did the same thing with clover and had decent success. The Dutch clover is all over the place and the crimson clover grew well for a couple years. Yellow clover didn't do that well though.

    ~Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lees summit, missouri, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Matt

    Have you tried a soil sample?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    I have a nice mix of wild flower patch but i mostly see native bees, beetles and wasps on them. Some (3 or 4) honeybees early morning. I keep adding honeybee friendly plants to my landscape but it mostly attracks other types of bees. I didnt know wasps were pollinator, i see them all over my garden

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    First, I will say that I haven't actually tried this myself; planting and growing a large area of wildflowers and/or prairie plants for bees. What I have read is that it takes some planning/preparation so that the flowers can overcome the competition (at least in beginning) from the (often non-native) weeds and grasses for a large area. It is too bad three years ago you didn't till the land and either apply herbicide or intermittently cultivate during the summer growing period to kill off most of the weeds/grasses, then plant in the spring of the next year. Also, many wildflowers need a period of cold weather dormancy/stratification for germination, so planting in late fall is perhaps necessary to. There must be some wildflower nurseries in IL. that could give advice about this. There are some that provide this service for commercial landscaping.
    >>
    http://www.prairienursery.com/store/...ing-ezp-2.html >>"Take No Prisoners" (when it comes to weeds) from a PDF you can find here, >>
    http://www.prairienursery.com/store/...Methods(1).pdf

    And >> http://www.prairienursery.com/store/...es-ezp-83.html

    Another site; mght be useful: >> http://www.ill-inps.org/index.php/about-us



    Note: From my readings, if I were to do this on a small scale, I would till first in spring and then cover the area with black plastic, (be patient the first year) to kill the grasses/weeds; even then some weed seeds can lie dormant in soil and germinate the next year. I would then plant seeds in spring and fall of second year. If this planting was more for honey bees, I would supplement the "wildflower mixes" with seeds of plants that I knew the bees preferred. Some of these seeds, if purchased separately, can be expensive but you only need 1/4 to 1/2 oz. depending on how large an area for planting of course.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 08-18-2013 at 11:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Larimer County, CO
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Contact the folks at applewood seed co in Denver. They have honeybee mixes as well as sound advice for planting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,273

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Start preparing the planting space early. Till the space every two weeks for a couple months, this will help reduce the grass and weeds. Then plant, and use a light mulch as seed covering. This, in addition to some of the thoughts others have posted.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Maybe try a cover crop such as Buckwheat for a year, then prepare soil as above for wildflowers.
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Actually yes, I had the soil tested for the garden earlier this year. Although the area I'm trying to grow the flowers are in a different area and could be considerably different I suppose, but I never even thought to look at these plants preferences.

    This area was also used as a field for many years so maybe it is significantly different.

    ~Matt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    Contact the folks at applewood seed co in Denver.

    They have some really good suggestions on their site on how to get the plants started.

    Thanks

    ~Matt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    St. Joseph County, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Growing Wildflowers, how?

    there's a good step by step here,
    they also sell real prairie wildflower seed, not the typical "wildflower" junk
    http://nativeconnections.net/blog/?page_id=89

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