Feeling inspired by the wildflowers of “super blooms”? Learn how to grow wildflowers that come back year after year in your own yard, and you won’t have to travel far to see a show put on by mother nature.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.
Which wildflowers should I plant?
For the best blooms year after year, choose wildflowers native to your area. Wildflower mixes are often sold as regional mixes – choose the correct one for your region or choose a single type native to your area.
Growing wildflowers native to your area improves your chances of success, as these flowers have adapted to your region’s growing conditions. Adding native wildflowers is also a great way to benefit the native pollinators and beneficial insects in your area.
When do I plant wildflowers?
You can plant wildflower seeds any time of year because temperature and moisture levels trigger the seeds to germinate. However, environmental factors such as birds and strong winds may reduce the number of seeds. The best time to plant wildflowers in most areas is in the fall.
When planting wildflower seeds in cold areas that experience freezing temperatures and snowfall, it’s essential to prepare the ground for planting BEFORE the soil freezes.
Once you have had several hard freezes, then plant your wildflower seeds. Seeds will be dormant through the winter and germinate as temperatures warm in the spring.
In mild winter climates, plant wildflower seeds 60-90 days before your first predicted winter frost. Seeds will germinate in the early winter and bloom through the spring.
In the low desert of Arizona, plant seeds for spring bloomers from September through December.
- Spring-blooming wildflowers typically germinate in early winter, bloom from February through April, and then drop seed in April and May.
- The seeds are dormant through the summer until rain and cooler temperatures begin the cycle again.
Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers and bulbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.
Where do I plant wildflowers?
You may decide to plant wildflowers for many reasons:
- to replace a lawn
- a border for a property line
- erosion control
- a beautiful view
It may be best to begin by seeding small areas to gain experience and to see what you like. Choose a site that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day for the best results. Soil should drain well and be weed-free.
How do I plant wildflowers?
- Use a shovel or rake to loosen the top inch or so of soil.
- If the area to plant seeds contains decomposed granite mulch (rocks), pull back rocks and work the top inch or two of soil.
- Many wildflower mixes have filler mixed into the mix, but if not, mix your seed with 1 part seed to 5 parts sand. Adding a filler before mixing gives a more even distribution of seeds.
- Scatter seeds evenly by hand, or use a hand-broadcast spreader for larger areas.
- After spreading seeds, walk directly over the planting area or use a seed roller for larger areas to compress seeds into the soil.
- Do not cover wildflower seeds with soil.
- If you pulled rocks back to plant, move rocks back into place after planting seeds.
How do I water wildflowers?
Once planted, wait for the winter rains to germinate the seeds.
If you choose to water your wildflower seeds instead, water so that the soil is moist, not soaking wet each day until seedlings emerge. You may need to water 1-2 times per day for 7-10 days to encourage germination.
You may want a wildflower identification field guide to help identify what is sprouting – weed or wildflower? Learn to identify wildflower seedlings and common weeds for your area so you can tell the difference.
Thin wildflower seedlings if they emerge in clumps. The easiest way to thin wildflowers is by gently tugging up extra wildflowers. Allow each plant several inches of growing room (depending on the size of the plant). Overcrowded wildflowers will still grow, but plants with better airflow and adequate spacing grow and bloom better.
Once seedlings are 4-5” tall, water every 7-10 days if no rains are present; the seedlings will usually survive on natural rains. Some years winter rains are plentiful, and the blooms are too. In drier years, there may be fewer blooms.
What do I do after the wildflowers bloom?
- Leave plants in place so they can “go to seed”.
- Normally, each flower develops into several seeds. As they mature, seeds fall to the ground, “planting” next year’s blooms for you.
- Once seeds have dropped, plants can be pulled up (shaking off excess seeds into the ground) or flattened to provide a natural mulch for the seeds.
Next year and in the following years, seeds will sprout and grow all on their own. Sit back and enjoy the accrued benefits!
Learning how to grow wildflowers adds beauty to your yard for years!
Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Wednesday 24th of August 2022
Can wildflowers be planted this way in raised beds, or just in native soil?
Wednesday 24th of August 2022
Either place is fine.
Beth St Clair
Thursday 31st of October 2019
Hello! I'm looking to plant some wildflowers this weekend and plan on tilling the soil before I scatter the seed. Would you suggest using a topsoil also? If so, about how much do you think I should use? Also, I like be in Phoenix, AZ so the ground is super hard!
Thank you. Beth
Friday 1st of November 2019
Hi Beth. Tilling the soil is not necessary or recommended. Use a rake or hoe to loosen the top inch or two of soil, sprinkle the seeds and lightly sprinkle compost or soil on top, not more than a light covering of soil or compost is required. I hope that helps. Good luck!
Sunday 11th of August 2019
Hi! I LOVE your blog. I was looking through the American meadow affiliate link, and wondered how many “servings” a 1/4 lb bag would provide to an average AZ subdivision lot? I am considering gifting the seeds to a group of people and not sure how many portions a bag would make.
Monday 12th of August 2019
Thanks. Looks like the American Meadow 1/4 Pound Package covers 250-500 Square feet.
Monday 13th of May 2019
What a nice memory. Thanks for sharing.