People travel across the world to see epic fields of wildflowers blooming, but what if you could plant your own little wildflower paradise right in your backyard? That’s exactly what I asked myself this summer when travel was halted due to COVID-19. I’ve personally always wanted to see the epic lupine fields in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Since I couldn’t this year, I decided to plant my own wildflower garden at home inspired by them.
I made a video documenting our journey of starting the garden, and it went a little (ok a lot) viral on TikTok. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here.
Many people were asking for more information about the process of starting a wildflower garden, so I pulled together these steps for you to get your own started!
1. Research appropriate wildflowers
This was by far the thing that caused the most controversy on my video, but is is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you research and plant native flowers that will not disrupt your local ecosystem. If plants are not native, they can become invasive, and destroy the local flora. So make sure you do your research well!!
You can go about this in two different ways:
1. Start by researching all types of wildflowers, and make a list of the ones you like most. From there, do some reading and figure out which of these are local to your area and acceptable to plant.
2. Find a book or website on native plants in your area. They’ll tell you what’s good to plant, and you can go from there. It’s really as easy as looking up “native wildflowers in Idaho!”
2. Shop locally for seeds
It might take a little bit extra work, but if you can it’s worth buying your seeds from a local plant, farm, or seed shop. Usually, shops will have more variety and availability in the spring, and you can easily call in to see what they have in stock. If you can’t find the exact seeds you’re looking for, you can purchase them online, but just make sure it’s from a reputable store, and make sure to read the reviews!
3. Prepare your land
Other than research beforehand, this part will probably take you the most time!
Here are the key things you need to do to make sure your land is ready for planting:
1. Rake up any leaves or loose debris
2. Remove any grass (as this will grow through)
3. Remove any rocks or stones
4. Create some sort of boundary to contain the flowers. Wildflowers can spread quite easily, so if you don’t want them througout your whole yard then it could be worth creating a little barrier of stones around the edge of where you want your garden to be.
5. Add soil if you don’t have good soil in your yard. That being said, most wildflowers are incredibly hardy and can grow with just about any conditions, which is what allows them to thrive in the wild!
4. Prepare your seeds
Depending on the seeds you get, there might be some preparation necessary before you plant them. Some require soaking overnight, but it really depends on what you get. Most seeds come with some sort of directions, so you can check easily if the seeds you get need any extra prep work before planting.
5. Time your planting well
There are two main times you should consider planting your wildflowers, in the spring after the ground has thawed, or in the fall about a month before the first frost.
Most experts suggest planting in the fall because there will be less weeds, your seeds will have time to settle in, and there are more suitable weather days for planting in the fall.
6. Water them!!
Ok this should be the most obvious but make sure to water your wildflower garden a lot when you first plant, especially if you’re in a dry area like us! We got a little creative and actually set up a watering rig from the lake, but you’ll probably have a hose nearby, so it’ll be a lot easier haha.
7. Continue adding seeds every year
The important thing to understand is that cultivating an awesome wildflower garden takes quite a bit of time. Many don’t thrive for until a few years in, so make sure you’re mentally prepared to be in this for the long haul 🙂 Because of this, every year, it’s worth continuing to add to your garden by planting more seeds.
8. Every 3-5 years mow them all down
This is something I actually learned about in the comments of my Tiktok! Basically you can help your wildflower garden (especially a larger one, like a wildflower field) grow stronger by mowing a different section every few years. This article explains the process really well.
Ok I think that’s everything I can think of for starting your own wildflower garden at home 🙂 Let me know in the comments if you have more questions!