"Wildflower gardens can be low maintenance and inexpensive to maintain."
Indulge your wild side by dedicating a corner of your yard to a natural wildflower garden. Wildflowers not only add color, charm and rustic beauty to your yard but will also attract butterflies and birds, creating your very own nature conservatory.
Wildflower gardens can be easy and inexpensive to maintain. It's best to use hardy self-reproducing flower species that grow wild on their own with little care. Many wildflowers thrive in full sun and moderately fertile soils that drain well but not too quickly. Visit our plant care guides to learn about specific growing conditions for your plants.
Till the soil using a shovel or rent a rotary tiller from your local The Home Depot. If the soil is very dense, mix in some peat or mulch to help retain moisture and keep birds from eating your plants. Even though it's possible to plant wildflowers in poor soil on a steep slope in the shade, it will be challenging. Refer to our plant library to find out the ideal care requirements for individual plants.
Eliminating weeds sooner rather than later is paramount because they are a wildflower garden's biggest threat. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish sprouting weeds from wildflowers, so it's best to remove all existing vegetation before you start.
When to plant wildflowers
Follow the seed-packet instructions. Many hardy varieties can be planted in spring, summer or early fall. However, most will thrive if you follow these guidelines:
Zones 1-2: Plant in early spring after the thaw.
Zones 3-6: Plant in spring or fall in moderate temperatures.
Zones 7-11: Plant in fall once the high heat of summer has passed.
Sow the wildflower-seed mix according to the package instructions for planting depth, topdressing and watering. If starting in midsummer, opt for established plants sold in pots. For most plants, germination should occur in 10-21 days and your first blooms should appear in 5-6 weeks.
Caring for your garden
Try to keep conditions in your wildflower garden as close to natural as possible. Opt for organic fertilizer and let beneficial predators such as ladybugs, lacewings, flower flies, praying mantises and toads provide natural pest control.
Remember, a wildflower garden consists mostly of perennials, so if you take these steps now you'll be able to enjoy these hardy, low-maintenance plants for years to come.