30. NATIVE WILDFLOWERS
Restore your natural landscape with native wildflowers. Already adapted to your local growing conditions, native wildflowers need less watering and care than other varieties and are also the most-tolerant of extreme swings in weather. By carefully selecting the hardiest species for each region, like Aster, Milkweed, Monarda, Flax, and Lupine. Native mixes are designed to bring years of low-maintenance color to your garden or meadow. Native wildflowers are versatile enough to bring the best of your region to garden beds, sunny meadows, difficult hell-strips or simple patio containers .
It's hard to believe there’s no magic involved when you grow native wildflowers from seed in your own garden, particularly when you use seeds specifically chosen for your region. Starting from seed is also a very cost-effective way to fill a garden or meadow with beautiful plants. All it takes is good seed, the right conditions and a willingness within the gardener to let nature take its course!
Why Grow Native Wildflowers From Seed?
All over the nation, gardeners are considering meadow garden projects, and it’s more than just turning off the mower and seeing what happens. Native wildflower seed can take that unmown lawn and turn it into a natural work of art. It can turn a window box outside a sunny city window into a little glimpse of the natural world.
You don’t have to start seeding a one-acre meadow to benefit from the beauty of native wildflowers, you can start just as small as you wish. The benefits of growing native wildflowers from seed are many, and sowing them in the autumn means you’ll be helped out by the conditions that make your climate and those seeds unique.
Let’s look at a few reasons to get sowing this fall:
Perfect Adaptation: Native wildflowers are suited to the soils of your region and its typical weather patterns.
Pollinator Paradise: Native plants and wildlife have developed special relationships over time. Plants provide food and habitat, while pollinators help wildflowers reproduce. It’s wonderful to see them working together in your garden.
Less Maintenance: When it comes to seeds, there’s no transplanting or hardening off required. Simply prepare the seed bed, water, and watch for signs of germination.
Regional Beauty: Create a sense of place in your garden or meadow. What better way to show off the plants that make your region unique than by showing off native wildflowers?
How Do I Grow Native Wildflowers From Seed?
Here is step-by-step information to help you to prepare for success, dig in, and grow wildflowers successfully. When you receive your seeds, read the enclosed instructions immediately so you don’t miss out on something – just as if you were cooking a new recipe. Here are some things to look for as you read:
Placement in your garden: What type of seed bed will your native wildflowers need? Fine? Rough? Rocky? Are they better in sun or shade, or fine in both? Find the best spot to plant in your landscape.
Will they need stratification? Stratification is a long word to describe the need of some seeds to go through a prescribed length of cold temperatures, often in a moist growing media or soil, in order to break internal dormancy and germinate. When you plant in fall, cold stratification will happen naturally. If planting in the spring, many native wildflowers will require this treatment which it can be approximated at home through refrigeration.
Will they need scarification? Scarification refers to the process of nicking or softening the seed coat to promote germination. Seeds cannot germinate unless moisture can get through that seed coat, and some seeds, such as lupine or morning glory, are designed to be able to last for years outside - it’s a progeny insurance policy for plants! Eventually naturally sown seed will be scarified by outside forces, but if you want your seeds to germinate next spring, you may need to help out a little by nicking them with a knife, soaking them for up to 48 hours in warm water, or rubbing them between two sheets of coarse sandpaper before you sow them.
How To Grow Native Wildflowers From Seed
If required, scarify and soak your wildflower seeds.
Prepare your seed bed according to the package instructions and your conditions.
If seed is very small, mix with a light-colored sand so seeds are evenly mixed and you can see where you have sown them.
Most wildflowers need no more than a light raking in. To allow sunlight to reach them, do not cover the seeds. Follow specific planting instructions on your package. Tamp the soil down with your feet, tamper, or A roller to ensure the seeds make good soil-to-seed contact.
Lightly water. Be careful not to not wash out your seeds!
Keep your seed bed evenly moist. Most of the time, native wildflowers will get the moisture they need through spring or fall rains, but it is wise to keep an eye on the soil and water when soil is dry.
Keep moist until seedlings are established and about 4-6 inches tall, which takes about 4-8 weeks. Restore habitat and strengthen ecosystems throughout the northeast with these native wildflowers. Native plants are well-adapted to local growing conditions and can handle extreme swings in weather better than non-natives. Best of all they provide crucial food and habitat to wildlife, beneficial insects and pollinators
A LIST OF NATIVE NORTHEAST WILDFLOWERS
These wildflowers are found New England and the mid-Atlantic, including Spotted Joe Pye Weed, Butterfly Weed, Red Columbine and Wild Lupine. .
Blue Flax Seeds
One of the easiest native wildflowers to grow from seed, Blue Flax adds charming, light blue blooms to the early season garden. Growing to be only 18-30” tall, this perennial is perfect for the front of the meadow or a small space garden. Very tolerant of sandy, dry soils, Blue Flax will grow in almost any sunny spot.
Black Eyed Susan Seeds
Versatile, drought-tolerant and easy-to-grow, Black Eyed Susan adds a cheerful splash of color to the summer landscape. A native plant that attracts a variety of pollinators, Black Eyed Susan pairs beautifully with other prairie favorites like Purple Coneflower and Butterfly Weed. Its adaptable -nature makes it a great choice for poor soils and tough conditions.
Perennial Lupine Seeds
A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy and Rudbeckia) for an extended season of color. Growing to be about 12-36” tall, Lupine is a great choice for the front of the meadow or garden bed. Extremely easy to grow and deer resistant, this perennial flower blooms year after year.
Orange Butterfly Weed Seeds
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is the famous orange milkweed species native from Canada to Florida. Needs fast-draining soil and full sun.
Yellow Maximilian Sunflower Seeds
Maximilian gives you the iconic color of Sunflowers but is a perennial, blooming year after year. This variety illuminates the garden with golden-yellow blooms all the way from summer into fall. Reaching heights of 3-8’, this Sunflower will quickly become the true backbone of your perennial wildflower meadow or garden. Like all Sunflowers, Maximilian is easy to grow and attracts pollinators all season long.
Pink Bee Balm Seeds
This is the monarda with pink flowers and leaves famous for making tea. Also called "Oswego Tea."
Red and Yellow Gloriosa Daisy Wildflower Seeds
Gloriosa Daisy is a deer-resistant variety that adds rich, gorgeous color to the summer and fall garden. A perennial form of the native Black-Eyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisies grow to be 12-36” tall and tolerate partial shade. Giant, bi-color double flowers are extremely easy to grow and bloom reliably year after year.
Purple Coneflower, also called Echinacea, is famous across the country for its stunning purple flowers and golden center cones. A perennial butterfly and bee magnet, this native wildflower is extremely easy to grow and looks equally at home in the garden, meadow, or vase. Leave your Purple Coneflower planting in place over the winter to attract goldfinches and other songbirds.
Red and Yellow Plains Coreopsis Seeds, Coreopsis tinctoria
This native annual illuminates the garden or meadow with fantastic clusters of bi-color blooms, all the way from summer into fall. Plains Coreopsis makes for gorgeous cut flowers and can be grown in almost any sunny spot, from Maine all the way to California. This variety is deer resistant and extremely easy to grow.
Yellow Lance Leaf Coreopsis Seeds, Coreopsis lanceolata
A North American native, Lance Leaf Coreopsis is famous for its golden blooms that last from summer all the way into fall. Deer resistant and tolerant of partial shade, this perennial wildflower is a low-maintenance way to bring major color to any meadow. A great choice for dry areas and poor soils.
Red Cardinal Flower Seeds, Lobelia cardinalis
'America's most vivid wildflower' according to experts. Must have damp soil, sun or shade. Perennial.
Yellow Wild Sunflower Seeds, Helianthus annuus
This native sunflower is the grandfather species of them all and is a true staple of any wildflower garden. Bright, cheerful flowers are only 3-4” across and this variety grows to be 24-72” tall. Wild Sunflowers are extremely easy to grow and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden all season long. This native beauty is also the state flower of Kansas!
The Russell Lupine Mix creates a dramatic, colorful statement with tall flower spikes that bloom in a variety of shades. Like all lupines, this mixture is very easy to grow and will quickly become a permanent fixture in your wildflower meadow or garden. Russell Lupine is deer resistant, and the colorful blooms call to be cut and brought inside for summer arrangements!
Red Eastern Red Columbine Seeds, Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Red Columbine
One of our most treasured wildflowers. Delicate foliage and strawberry red blooms. Hummingbird favorite. Perennial.
Purple Blazing Star Seeds, Liatris spicata, Gayfeather
This purple-spiked native of the prairie is so loved it's a florist favorite. Loves dry gritty soil, full sun. Perennial.
Pink Common Milkweed Seeds, Asclepias syriaca
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. Milkweed is one of the Monarch Butterflies’ favorite plants and will bring many winged friends to your garden or meadow. It can be a challenge to grow but once established it will thrive for years to come and spread quickly. Perennial.
Pink Swamp Milkweed Wildflowers, Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed Wildflower Seeds
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a showier variety of Common Milkweed. It is extremely elegant, producing willowy foliage and pink blooms. It will also attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden or meadow. Perennial.
Yellow Zig Zag Goldenrod Seeds, Solidago flexicaulis, Zig Zag Goldenrod
Zig Zag Goldenrod helps extend the life and eco-system of your garden through the fall with small, bright yellow flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. This easy-to-grow native plant spreads readily and should be strategically planted where it can do so and not take over other plants. Deer resistant and shade tolerant. (Perennial)
Prairie Sage, White Sagebrush, Artemisia ludoviciana
Prairie Sage is a rapid spreader, making it the perfect choice for a prairie or meadow, but not a great choice for a smaller landscape. This native perennial offers cheerful yellow blooms in the summer months and grows to be about 3’ tall. Also known as White Sagebrush, this variety thrives in full sun to part shade and is extremely easy to grow. Perennial.
Pink Showy Tick Trefoil Seeds, Desmodium canadense, Showy Tick Trefoil
Desmondium canadense is great for shady, moist wild gardens. Lovely foliage and flowers. Perennial
This rare wildflower lights up the summer garden with orange/red, show flowers. The bright blooms also attract hummingbirds and butterflies! Biennial.
White Turtlehead Seeds, Chelone glabra, Turtlehead
Turtlehead is an easy-to-grow beauty that boasts dense spikes of pure white flowers on richly-green foliage. This native plant plays a vital role in nature – It acts as a host plant for several butterfly variety’s larvae and its nectar attracts winged wildlife.