Massive, sprawling lawns are leftover from European aristocracy and it may be time to leave them in the past. That's not to say that you shouldn't plant any grass seed. Instead, it's to encourage the cultivation of biodiversity.
You see, wildflowers can support the pollinators in your community. Given that pollinators are responsible for the lives of nearly 200,000 plant species across the earth, we'd say that supporting them is a noble act!
The question is, how long do wildflowers take to grow? How can you start a wildflower garden successfully and when will you enjoy the fruits of your labour?
Are you looking for a way to combine vibrant beauty with environmental sustainability? If so, cultivating a wildflower garden in your yard is the perfect solution. Read on to learn more about the timeline of growing wildflowers from seed.
Setting the Stage for Success: Mapping Out Your Wildflower Garden Space
Of course, a successful wildflower garden relies on the right wildflower seed mix. We go beyond simple seed packets to create perfect mixtures that will thrive in your wildflower turf.
Before we can begin to count the days until our wildflowers grow, however, we have to create the ideal conditions. Choosing the right spot and taking preparatory steps will set you up for gardening success. Let's take a look at how you can encourage healthy, continuous growth in the early stages.
Picking the Right Spot
Most wildflowers thrive in areas that receive at least six hours of full sun. If possible, choose the sunniest spot in your garden to plant your wildflower seeds. Whether you're planting a square metre of wildflowers or a full acre, full sun is the way to go.
Remember, when your wildflower garden is in full bloom, you want to disturb it as little as possible. The more self-sufficient it can become, the more it will thrive.
That being said, you should select a spot that allows for a bit of overgrowth. In other words, you may not want to plant wildflowers right next to a carefully cultivated garden or plug plants. Because wildflowers can grow quite tall, you may also want to give your wildflower garden a bit of distance from paved areas or pathways that need to remain clear.
Preparing Your Soil
In order to promote sustainable growth, you want to make sure that your soil isn't too compact. Use a rake, spade, or fork to test out your soil. If the soil becomes crumbly when broken up with your tools, it should be suitable for your wildflowers.
Next, you will need to discourage the growth of unwanted grasses and weed seeds. You may hand pull these unwanted plants from your garden bed if you'd like, but we recommend a faster method.
Grab a tarp or sheet of plastic and cover the area for one to two weeks. The heat and lack of oxygen will help kill off any root systems that have taken hold in your garden bed. Remove the tarp or plastic and hand full any stubborn weeds.
Finally, give your soil a light watering.
When Should You Plant Your Wildflower Seeds?
The only time of year that we don't recommend planting your wildflower seeds is wintertime. The soil and other conditions simply aren't ideal for new seeds to thrive in the colder months. Summertime is an acceptable time to plant wildflower seeds, but the spring and fall seasons are ideal.
If you want to see wildflower growth in the near future, plant your wildflower seeds in mid-spring. This will give your garden plenty of time to become established and colourful by the time summer rolls around. If you do plant your seeds in the spring, make sure to keep the soil damp with regular watering.
You can also plant your wildflower seeds in the fall. Water them once and then let them go dormant for the winter months. Come spring, you will start to see your seeds sprout and bloom.
The Early Days: How Long For Wildflower Seeds to Germinate?
Seeds need to germinate in order to produce plants. Germination occurs when the seed is introduced to ideal conditions, namely a space that is damp. Some seeds don't require soil for the germination process, but we recommend sowing wildflower seeds directly in your garden bed and beginning germination there.
The first step of germination for a seed is shedding its external coat or shell. Many seeds can begin this process as soon as they are introduced to moisture and it tends to take about 24 hours to complete.
How Fast Do Wildflowers Grow From Seed to Sprout?
How long does it take to grow wildflowers from seeds? It depends on which stage you're waiting for, and the sprouting stage is the first sign of noticeable growth.
When you plant wildflower seeds, you don't bury them deep underground as you would with some flower species.
Instead, after scattering your seeds, you want to mix the seed into the soil so they make good contact with the earth. Rake the soil lightly so that the seeds aren't submerged, but do have soil to latch onto.
Assuming that you are planting in the spring to see immediate growth, you should start to see sprouts roughly 14-21 days after sowing your wild flower seeds.
A Burst of colour: How Long Do Wildflowers Take to Grow From Sprout to Bloom?
When we get questions like, "How long do wildflower seeds take to grow?" we like to provide a thorough answer. That's why we talk about things like germination and sprouting. However, we do know that most gardeners are really wondering about the biggest payoff: those colourful blooms.
After your seeds begin to sprout, they have a long journey ahead of them. They need water, light, and oxygen to keep growing taller and stronger. Once they are ready to support that extra weight, they'll finally start budding and blooming.
Usually, you can expect a wait between 40-60 days from sprouting to blooming. In total, that's an estimated 54-81 days from sowing to blooming.
(Remember: this timeline refers specifically to wildflower seeds that are planted in the growing season! If you plant in the fall for a spring bloom, this timeline won't begin upon planting. Instead, it will usually begin around mid-spring, after the last freeze of the winter season.)
Is There a Way to Speed Up the Wildflower Growth Process?
No one understands better than us that urge to get your garden growing quickly. That's why one of our favourite seed mixes is the GSS Rapid Colour Wildflower mix.
In this seed mix, we've included a variety of perennial wildflowers, annual wildflowers, and biennials that are all fast growers. In fact, many gardeners who use the Rapid Colour Wildflower mix see blooms as early as 6-8 weeks after sowing! If you are in a hurry for some natural beauty (and we don't blame you!), try out our Rapid Colour Wildflower mix.
Bonus Tips That Will Show Your Local Pollinators Some Love
The key to a successful wildflower garden doesn't stop and start with those bursting blooms. The more you can encourage the health and success of your local pollinators, the better!
How can you ensure that your wildflower garden is a-buzz with pollinators such as birds, bees, and butterflies? Create ideal spaces around your garden for habitation.
Make sure that your wildflower plants aren't coming into contact with pesticides. This is another reason why you may want to keep it away from your more carefully cultivated spaces, such as rose beds or vegetable gardens.
Encourage your pollinators to make a home and raise their young nearby. Bees, in particular, benefit from things like dead wood (ie from nearby trees), leaf litter, and even uncultivated dirt. These are all areas where they may nest and hideout from predators in peace.
Are you hoping to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds to your wildflower meadow? Shrubs and bushes provide places for both species to lay their eggs, which is a surefire way to keep them around.
Finally, let your wildflower garden take its natural shape. Pollinators are often most attracted to spaces covered with dense growth. It's not only easier for them to find a dense wildflower garden but it's also easier for them to feel safe and protected by one.
Get Started With Grass Science Seeds
How long do wildflowers take to grow? At the end of the day, the growth of your wildflowers relies on a number of factors, from the amount of sunlight they receive to the quality of your soil.
The good news for excited gardeners is that wildflower seeds are easy to grow. They don't take nearly as long to germinate, sprout, and bloom as many other species of flowers!
Are you ready to start growing your very own pollinator paradise? Do you have questions about which wildflower seed mix is best for your growing conditions? Work with us to create a bespoke mixture designed for your needs, take a look at our gardening guides, or contact us to let us know how else we may be of help.