Three Considerations When Planning A Wildflower Meadow In Your Yard

If you're a homeowner who wants to add something interesting to your garden, a wildflower meadow might be near the top of your list. These meadows do not have to be large; you can create a small meadow in a garden bed by your patio. But creating the meadow involves more than just tossing some seeds on the ground and letting nature do its work. Here are three considerations that you must think about when planning that meadow.

Native Seeds

Be very careful about the seed mixes you choose. Try your best to find wildflower packets that contain only seeds that are native to your region. Non-native seeds can either die quickly (so the meadow ends up looking terrible) or they thrive so much that they escape and invade your yard, crowding out native flowers. Native seeds will also be more in tune with the amount of rainfall your area gets during planting season. You'll still have to ensure the seeds receive water, but you won't be on the hook for gallons and gallons during a drought, for example.

Annuals and Perennials

It's common to find seed mixes that contain both annual and perennial seeds, meaning that after the first season, your meadow may look patchy as the annual plants die out. Try to find mixes that offer only one type of seed-- either annual or perennial. If annual, you can replace the meadow yearly without it looking scraggly or uneven. If perennial, you will have a full meadow springing back to life each year.

Weed Control

A wildflower meadow is going to look fairly wild, but you may want to make yours a little neater. That's because you have to control any weeds that start growing in the bed, lest they escape and colonize the rest of your garden. It's not unusual to see weeds left to grow in a meadow blooming, and you may find over time that some of the weeds tend to stay put rather than spread. But until you recognize those that don't try to conquer your yard, you're going to have to inspect the meadow frequently and remove weeds.

This Old House suggests using a combination of crowding (growing enough plants so that the weeds don't have room to thrive), hand-weeding, and herbicides to control weeds in general; if you have to resort to herbicides, though, try to use selective contact herbicides that kill only certain plants that the herbicide touches.

If you want to start inspecting seed packets to find weed-free, native seeds in perennial or annual mixes, talk to gardening companies and seed order companies. Planting wildflower meadows has become common enough that finding the right mix is generally doable no matter where you live. Click here to learn more about wildflower seed packets.