Most wildflower seeds will retain their germ and be viable for several years. When purchasing wild flower seeds be sure that they have been tested within the past year. Typically seed is tested once a year for viability. If you have wildflower seed that is more than a year old there is a good chance it is still very good. Take a chance and plant them. You may be surprised. Most wildflower seeds will take 7-14 days to germinate and the ground should be at about 55° F.
The biggest mistake made when planting wildflower seed is planting them too deep. The rule of thumb is to plant the seed only as deep as it is big in size. Too deep and it will fail to break ground and rot. Some wild flower seed needs light to germinate so should not be covered up at all. For more detailed information go to our Seed Germ data base. There is a complete listing of depth and other useful information.
Insure that your seed has good contact with the soil and that the soil has been worked up and has good drainage. Pooling water is a sure sign of drainage problems and should be remedied. Low areas in the garden will also cause the wildflower seed to run downhill and pool in one area. Too crowded! Adding organic matter to your soil is always a plus although some flowers such as Nasturtium prefer poor soil and will develop great leaves in rich soil but no flowers!!!!!
For larger areas planting such as meadows etc. you can go over the area with a wide tooth rake or even a piece of fencing dragged behind a mower/tractor. The main goal is to loosen the soil so that the roots don’t have to go through concrete to get into the ground. Keep in mind that every time you turn over soil weed seed from below that have been dormant will rise to the top and rejoice at the air and water. Turn soil over early enough to be able to do it twice so you can hopefully keep them to a minimum.
Generally speaking 1 lb of wild flower seeds will cover between 4500 and 6000 square feet. There is quite a variance in individual species. Too close and the wildflowers will have to compete for nutrients/sun etc. Too far and weeds will be delighted to fill in the gaps.
Your zone is the biggest determination in timing to plant seed. Danger of frost is the most important consideration. While seeds that have not yet germinated will survive a frost some small seedlings may not. Don’t be in a hurry. Patience……
Words of wisdom:
The best advise anyone has ever given me is to go with nature and not against it. Don’t plant flowers that need a lot of water unless you can provide it. When in doubt about what will grow in your area: LOOK AROUND, pay attention to what grows naturally or what is doing well in your neighbor's garden. If you see a flower you like ask what it is. It will make your life and the life of your flowers a whole lot easier. Gardeners are some of the most friendly people on the planet and most will gladly engage you in a lengthy conversation. Gardening is a passion!
MOST OF ALL ENJOY!