Grow a wildflower meadow

Poppies and other wildflowers growing next to building.

Grow a wildflower meadow

There’s more to wildflowers than just their beauty. Planting these pretty and fragrant flowers will not only add colour to your outdoor area, but it’s also a great way of attracting bees and other important wildlife to your garden.

The good news is that you don’t need acres upon acres of land to make a minimeadow. Any patch of lawn in a sunny position can be turned into a rich wildflower meadow that’s easy to maintain.

Minimeadow quick facts

  • Suitable for gardening amateurs
  • Plant midspring or early autumn
  • Remember; wildflowers like sunshine

For the love of bees

Sadly, many bee species are on the decline globally. By cultivating a good mix of nectar and pollenrich wildflowers, you can turn your garden into a haven for these useful little critters helping turn around the steep decrease in their numbers.

“In the last 80 years, we have lost over 97% of our wildflower meadows in the UK, leaving our bees with little to feed on. Gardens and urban green spaces can help fill this void by providing the flowers that are essential to support bees throughout the year… especially between the critical months of March and October.”
Darryl Cox, Bumblebee Conservation Trust

When and where to sow

Most seasoned gardeners will tell you that it’s best to sow wildflowers during March and April, or in September. Autumn sown seeds are usually quick to sprout, especially on light soils although there are always some slower seedlings that won’t come up until the following spring.

On heavy soils, you’re best off waiting until spring to sow because seeds and seedlings can rot during winter if the ground becomes oversaturated with water.

Don’t have a garden?

Different wildflowers arranged in five glass vases.

You can sow wildflowers in pots or planters for patios, balconies and doorsteps. The roofs of garages, garden sheds, bike boxes and wood stores also make good places for minimeadows.

After sowing the seeds, make sure the soil remains moist, or water if dry. You only need to water seedlings occasionally the great thing is they don’t require a lot of attention; they’re wild.

Lawn preparation

Wildflowers like natural soil that hasn’t been fertilised. To create a wildflowerfriendly lawn, stop using fertilisers and weed killers, and mow it regularly, making sure the grass stays short.

Growing tips

  • Rake the soil if it’s lumpy, the seeds may get buried and if it’s too hard, the wildflowers won’t be able to root properly.
  • Don’t sow wildflowers into areas in heavy shade.
  • Combine wildflowers, native herbs and ornamental grasses for a hardy but beautiful meadow.
  • For additional colour and interest, add rockery and alpines to your garden.

Quick fixes

Wildflower turf

Quick and easy to lay, wildflower turf is a nifty little cheat for making your garden colourful, beautiful and a haven for wildlife. Made up of 50% wildflowers and 50% grasses, it’s also an excellent way to avoid weed invasion.

Seed bombs

Neither explosive nor edible, seed bombs are little balls made up of compost, clay and seeds. They’re very straightforward to use simply scatter on top of soil or compost and let nature do the rest. You can even get special varieties of seed bombs, filled with wildflowers favoured by bees and butterflies.

Summer meadow full of colourful wildflowers.

Maintaining your meadow

  • Cut or trim the grass in August.
  • Leave it until September if you want species such as Agrimony and Betony to get a hold.
  • Leave the grass that has been mown where it falls for a week, turning it over while it dries, to allow seeds to drop down into the soil.
  • Keep on top of weeds; wildflowers are tough and grow fast, but it’s important to get rid of any unwanted plants that threaten to take over.

Why not try these wildflowers for starters?

  • Cowslip
  • Milkwort
  • Oxeye Daisy
  • Sorrel
  • Ragged Robin
  • Red Campion