How Wild About Flowers Are You?

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As the last snow finally melts and winter comes to an end, one of the most wonderful times of the year begins. Spring! The season of spending time in the cool sun and gardening. There are all kinds of new ideas you can implement in your gardens, and one beautiful and sustainable idea is planting wildflowers.

When you hear “wildflowers,” you may think of gorgeous carpets of red poppy flowers or endless plains of sweet smelling lavender, but did you know you can plant these patches of paradise around your home? Whether it be a raised garden bed or merely a bland area you just want to add color in, wildflowers propagate well in most kinds of soils. Easy to plant and grow, wildflower buds and seeds need minimal care and will quickly blossom into beautiful flowers.

The first steps of growing a wildflower garden are the most important, and it is these steps that determine how well the wildflowers will grow:

  1. Buy the Wildflower Seeds: Go to your local gardening store or go online to purchase a package of wildflower seeds. There are all different types so pick one that is appropriate for your geographic location. To find out what native wildflowers are meant for your climate, you can search websites like American Meadows.
  2. Choose a Location: Pick an area around your house that gets sufficient sunlight, at least six hours of sun. If you have a place that is in the shade but you would like to plant wildflowers, there are many partial shade varieties.
  3. Pick a Day: Wait until the last frost date of your area and sow the seeds after this date has passed.
  4. Prepare the Area: Clear out the area and remove any roots or growth. Dig a couple of inches into the soil to loosen it up. Then, rake the area flat.
  5. Sow the Seeds: First mix the seeds with sand. This will make it easier to see the seeds when you spread them. Try to spread them as evenly as possible.
  6. Pat down the Seeds: Either step on the seeds lightly or press them down without covering them
  7. Water: Keep the soil moist while the seedlings sprout. Continue to water until they are about 4-6” tall. After that, the flowers should be able to survive on natural rains, but if your town is dealing with dry weather, watering can help them grow.

There are many benefits to planting wildflowers. Not only are they beautiful and easy to grow, but they can also help the environment. Many wildflowers attract pollinators. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flock to these flowers to collect the nectar and pollen. The butterfly and bee population has been decreasing so planting these flowers can help them out. Also, there are wildflower packages specific for pollinators. Some packages contain seeds for both perennial and annual plants. Perennial plants are plants that come up every year while annuals only last one year. This means that every year in the spring, wildflowers will grow and you will have continued color.

Planting wildflowers is a great way to bring nature into our lives. They are also beautiful and sustainable. Wildflowers can help prevent erosion while keeping the soil active, healthy, and nutritious. In addition, they provide a perfect habitat for beneficial insects and other creatures you may find in your backyard. Planting wildflowers is a great way to participate in the Roots & Shoots 25th Anniversary Growing Together Campaign. Celebrate 25 years of passionate people working towards a more beautiful world by planting wildflower seeds and documenting what you planted in the Roots & Shoots Growing Together interactive map. Go out and grow something! I bet you’ll be glad in the summer when you get to enjoy nature’s precious beauties!

About Author

Yanni is a member of the Roots & Shoots U.S. National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). As a member of the NYLC, Yanni acts as a youth voice and works to make a positive change in his community — for people, animals and the environment. Yanni is a Senior at Sacred Heart High School in Massachusetts where he is involved in cross country, piano, and the school literary magazine. He has been the president of his school's Roots & Shoots club since 2011.