How to plan your space
Wildflowers are versatile and are suited to many different spaces. Here are some ideas of where you could sow your wildflowers and what to consider before you do...
Any area can be transformed with wildflowers because your seeds can be sown in containers as well as on open soil. Have a think about shared spaces near you... housing estates, sports fields, shopping centres, schools and care homes can all be great spaces for wildflowers.
Growing wildflowers in a container is ideal if you haven’t got open ground – anything that’s strong enough to hold soil will do the job - old boots, watering cans, glass and enamel bowls - as long as there are drainage holes so that it doesn’t flood when it rains.
Plain old garden soil is ideal for growing wildflowers because they thrive in low nutrient soil. Find out more about how to assess the soil on your site.
To sow on grass or lawn, just remove the grass with a spade and rake over, creating patches of bare soil where your wildflower seeds can be sown. You could even create a special shape to sow your wildflowers in.
Sunny or shady?
Look on the bright side - most wild flowers like plenty of sun light, so make sure your proposed site is not shaded by large trees or tall buildings
In the dark - some wildflowers can tolerate a bit of shade, like those that naturally grow in woodlands, so the whole site doesn’t have to be in full sun.
Thin on top - it may be possible to thin the crown of trees to let more light through.
The chop - some big tree-like shrubs, hazel, hawthorn or elder can be chopped to the ground in spring and will grow back strongly.
Plan ahead - remember there will always be more shade on the north side of big plants so a compass will help to map sunny and shady areas on your site.
What’s already there?
Knowledge is power so find out as much about your site as possible. There may be more there than you first realised, and plenty of things that you may want to keep.
Go wild! - some really wild areas, like thick undergrowth or rotting logs, might be good to keep, with your wildflowers being the icing on the cake. Variety is the key so don’t be too quick to clear everything away.
Grass verges - you may want to leave some grass verges on or near your site long, and only cut the grass in late summer - talk to the local council if they're responsible for cutting any grass near your site.
Grass clippings - ideally you want the council to remove the grass clippings, as wildflowers thrive on unfertilized soils. If they won’t then you can just rake it up and use it as mulch under trees and shrubs. Whatever you do, don’t add fertilizer to the soil, this will only encourage weedy plants such as docks, dandelions, and thuggish grasses.
Alien invasion - there may also be a good reason that a particular site has not already been planted, for example a site where a non-native invasive plant is present, such as Japanese knotweed or Giant hogweed. Disturbing such a site or transferring contaminated soil elsewhere, even on footwear, might inadvertently transfer seed material or plant fragments to a new site, and create a bigger problem somewhere else.
Places you should not sow your wildflower seeds
To protect wildflowers already growing in the countryside from cross-pollination with the flowers in your seed kit, please make sure that you don’t sow seeds in or near open countryside or near nature reserves.
Permission: Always find out who owns the land or space and ask their permission before you sow your wildflower seeds, they may even be able to help! Even an unloved, messy old plot will be owned by someone so it’s best not to risk putting in time and effort until you’ve got permission, ideally in writing.
Start with the local council. They may well be the owners, and if not, they may be able to point you in the right direction – they’ll probably be delighted that a local group is taking the initiative to improve their local environment. They may also be able to provide you with some expertise, tools, and who knows, even some funding....there’s no harm in asking!
Safety first: Wear the right clothing and use sun protection if you’re working outside. Let people know what you’re doing and where you’re going to be. Don’t leave any rubbish behind.
Have fun! We can't wait to see your spaces transformed! Share photos with us on social media using #GrowWild