Growing Tips: Wildflowers
Some wildflower varieties prefer light and others darkness to germinate. For that reason cover seed with not more than 1/16 to 1/8 inch of fine soil. Water newly seeded area well for good seed-soil contact. Germination varies by variety, usually 7 to 25 days. Seed spacing should be 1 to 2 inches. Keep the garden soil moist at all times until the seedlings have broken through the soil surface. For specific information on a particular wildflower variety refer to the data on the seed packet.
When and where to plant:
The wildflowers offered adapt very well to a cultivated garden and most will bloom in Alaska by late summer when the seed is planted directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Wildflower seed can be planted in the garden before the danger for frost is past. As a rule, wildflowers like their seed planted where the plants will remain throughout their life and do not transplant well.
For an earlier bloom, wildflower seed may be started indoors in individual plastic pots so when transplanted to the garden the roots slide out easily reducing injury and transplant shock. Start seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before planting time in the garden. Plant several seeds in an individual 2 inch plastic pots filled with good rich garden loam. Lightly cover seed and water well for good seed-soil contact. When the seedlings are 2 inches tall clip off all but the two healthiest seedlings, water with a half strength solution of liquid plant food once a week and grow in full sun or under lights until the garden is ready. The night temperature must be below 55 degrees F to keep the young plants from becoming leggy. When transplanting to the garden, water the soil in the pot then carefully slide the root ball out of the plastic pot placing the seedling in a hole filled with water, carefully push moist soil around the root ball.
When planting seed directly in the garden, plant seed then lightly cover with no more than 1/16 to1/8 inch of fine soil, water well for good seed-soil contact and keep soil moist until seedlings emerge.
Wildflowers are easy to maintain. Keep the garden weed free and soil moist. Apply plant food once a month. Keep old blossoms picked to encourage the development of new flowers.