Time for planting wildflowers

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This is a great time of year to establish wildflowers in Mississippi. High quality wildflower seeds are available from your local garden center or via the web.
The internet has made it easier to find seed at places like the nationally renowned Wild Seed Farms in Texas and other specialized seed sources. When surfing the web, type in “wildflower seeds” and see how many choices you have.
When selecting wildflowers be sure to buy seed designed to grow where they are adapted.
A few good reference sources for our state include Wildflowers of the Natchez Trace and Wildflowers of Mississippi by S. Lee Timme.
These two should be available through your local library. Another good wildflower information source is an Extension publication entitled Wildflowers for Mississippi Gardens and Meadows by Felder Rushing and also available from your County Extension Service Office.
Wildflower seeds sown in the fall may germinate and begin to establish roots and crown. The soil is still warm and ideal for the new seed to get started before winter sets in. Winter cold and moisture is actually beneficial for the establishment of some other wildflowers that need these conditions to break dormancy. Planting wildflower seeds in the fall will result in plants that are poised for growth and blooming the following year.
Wildflowers typically don’t need a lot of TLC as you may guess by observing some of the places where they grow. Roadsides and ditch banks are usually not considered prime garden soil.
That’s why one of the most important considerations when establishing wildflowers is site selection. Some wildflowers may like it hot and dry while others prefer wet or boggy sites. Others may even prefer poor soils.
Wildflowers generally do not need additional fertilizer although a soil test may identify extreme conditions. At any rate, avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Wildflower seeds can be “scratched-in” or scattered on a raked soil surface. Keep the area moist until your seeds get started and during early growth and development. Incidentally our state wildflower is Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). Be sure to plant some. Happy Gardening.

By Eddie Smith

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