What are Wildflowers and where should we grow them?The simplest answer to the question what are Wildflowers is to say they are flower species that are found growing naturally in the wild. Most garden species that are sold in garden centres etc are from a plant species that may originate from all over the world. They will have been cultivated to have the colours and foliage of the plant enhanced. Wildflowers are originally sourced from wild stock in the country of origin. They are then, multiplied up and you plant what effectively nature has developed. Wildflowers fall broadly into two categories. Annual Wildflowers These are species such as Field Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas), Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus), Corn Marigold (Chryanthemum Segetum) etc. They are sometimes called Cornfield Annuals These generally are very colourful but they only last one year. Historically they would have appeared in arable fields where the farmer would have ploughed the field so bringing new seeds up to the top. For an annual to grow back again the seed should fall on bare or cultivated soils so they can germinate again. They can be planted in spring or autumn. In the spring they take about 8 to 12 weeks from sowing to flowering depending on the species. Cornfield Annuals As you can see from the picture. Annual wildflowers are very colourful and would grace any garden Perennial Wildflowers These are fundamentally different from annuals. In that once planted they will grow back again each year. The idea being that you would cut them down in early autumn, then the following summer the plant grows back. Ox Eye Daisy In the UK there are 100’s of native species growing in meadows, in woodland areas by the water’s edge etc. Commercially there are less than 200 species that are grown on and available with less than 50 species making up most of the available seed. A wider range is generally available in the form of plug plants Species can vary from Meadow Buttercup and Ox eye daisy. Through Woodland species such as Red Campion & Wild Foxglove. Or by water’s edge such as Yellow Flag Iris & Purple Loosestrife. Meadow Buttercup Whilst colourful and attractive the perennials are not as striking as the annuals. Their natural habitat is growing in amongst grass so the grass is the back drop for the flowers. They are slower to establish but once established will come back year after year. Wildflowers will grow in fertile conditions but the species you do not want will use the fertility better and often the wildflowers can get out competed in this situation. Red Campion Perennial Wildflowers do best then on poorer soil where it is more of a level playing field. They do best then where they can be left to grow out and where a natural wild look is required. Over the summer you will then see wildflowers in flower amongst the grass as you would see in the wild.
There are other types such as Biennial wildflowers which grow back every year but only flower every other year. Hopefully this explains what are wildflowers, but If you need any more information at this stage, there is a wide range of advice on our website or you can contact us direct for advice.