Why plant wildflowers in pots?
Wildflowers bring beauty to the landscape and provide a valuable source of food and shelter for wildlife.
Wildlife have been losing their natural habitat due to the ever-increasing human population. As a result, many species of animals and plants are now endangered. One way that we can help wildlife is by planting native wildflowers in our gardens.
Not all of us have space for a large garden, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help wildlife. By growing wildflowers in pots, we can provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies and other insects.
You can also get the family involved in planting and caring for the flowers. Growing wildflowers is a great way to get children interested in nature and the environment.
What you will need
Pots or containers
Potting mix or garden soil
Peat free Compost if you have some.
Grit or rocks and stones
Watering can or hose with a fine spray attachment
You can also get creative with your choice of pot or container. Old tyres, buckets, and even wellies make great planters for wildflowers. Just make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom.
When to plant
The best time to plant wildflower seeds is from late March to early May. This is because the weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer. The seeds will germinate better in these conditions. It is critical to wait until after the last frost before planting and anytime after that is fine.
Which seeds to use
The best wildflower seeds for planting in pots are the annual varieties. These include cornfield flowers such as poppies, cornflowers and calendula. You can also try growing biennials such as foxgloves and sweet williams. Perennial wildflowers, such as bluebells and primroses, can also be grown in pots but they may need to be replanted every few years.
If you want to attract bees and butterflies to your garden, then choose flowers that are rich in nectar such as clover, lavender, and marjoram.
You can buy mixed packets of wildflower seeds but just make sure they are British wildflowers to help our native species.
Fill your pots or containers with a mix of potting compost and grit. If you don’t have grit then you can spread rocks and stones on the bottom of your containers.This will help with drainage.
Scatter the seeds on the surface of the compost, cover with a thin layer of your potting mix and then gently firm down. Water well and place the pots in a sunny spot.
Keep the compost moist but not wet and in a few weeks, you should start to see the seeds germinating.
Once your plants have grown tall enough to be seen above the compost, they will need to be thinned out. This means removing some of the seedlings so that the remaining plants have enough space to grow. You can either transplant the seedlings into other pots or compost them.
Your wildflowers will need to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. They will also benefit from an occasional feed of a balanced liquid fertilizer. Deadheading (removing spent flowers) will encourage your plants to produce more flowers.
Eliminate weeds that will compete with your wildflowers for moisture and nutrients. You can do this by hand-weeding or using a weedkiller. Be careful not to damage the roots of your plants when weeding.
At the end of the season
When the flowering season is over, you can leave your plants to go to seed. They can self-sow and flower again the following year. You can also collect the seeds and sow them in pots indoors over winter. This is a great way to get a head start on the gardening season.
The flowers will die down naturally or you can cut them back. If you are growing biennials, they will produce flowers the following year so don’t cut them back until after flowering. Perennial wildflowers will also flower the following year but may benefit from being cut back in late summer to encourage new growth.
Growing wildflowers in pots is a great way to enjoy their beauty and to help wildlife. If you choose the right varieties, you can even have flowers blooming from early spring until late autumn. So why not give it a try?