How to Create a Wild flower area

wild flower patch in full flower

To create a proper wildflower meadow requires a big garden with space to set aside for the meadow, and a lot of time and effort. Few of us have a big garden, and time is often short. 

There are easier ways to grow a mini wildflower area which, as the image right shows, looks equally lovely, creating a colourful area in the garden attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. To grow wildflowers in this way, you need a small patch and a limited amount of time.

There are two basic ways to create a wildflower area .You can either sow a selection of annual wildflowers or buy a self-seeded roll of wildflowers, which is easier to sow and germinate, but more expensive.

Both methods have the same preparation. The time to start a wildflower meadow is once the risk of frost has passed. 

Self seeded wildflower rolls are widely available. The paper roll can look flimsy. Handle with care and I suggest you lay it out on a dry day so it doesn't get water-logged and rip.

Preparation for a wildflower area

step 1 clear a suitable patch weed free

Clear the area to be weed free

Clear a patch of soil to ensure it is weed free. You could remove a section of turf, or use a part of an existing border as long as it is weed free.

It can be hard work but you really need to dig out all the weeds or they will just compete with the wildflowers. If the ground is very weedy, or grassy, it will smother the wild flowers. Whether you are using a wild flower mat, or seeding annuals, it needs to be as weed free as possible.

step 2 rake it well to fine soil

Rake it to fine soil

Rake the area well because the seeds need to germinate and grow up through the soil, which needs to be quite fine, with no large clods. The soil does not need any enrichment, wildflowers are not fussy and grow better on poorer soils.

The wildflower mix you buy will be determined on the growing conditions. There are wildflower mixes for damp conditions, shade or sun. It is important to select a mix or a flower rolls which suits your growing conditions. Illustrated is a general mix which needs some sun. 

step 4 lay lay the wildflower roll


In this illustration I am using a flower roll. Carefully lay the wildflower roll/membrane where you want it to grow and lightly cover with fine soil until it is covered. The white area in the image is where the wildflower roll is still visible. It needs to be completely covered.

If your are sowing seeds, the packet will give a quantity per square metre to get the correct sowing density. It is easier to mark out each metre, and measure out the seed to sow square by square. It is a bit of a faff, but ensures the seed is sown evenly. Stand back and wait. First germination takes about 2 weeks. It is worth holding onto a hand full of seed to repair any bald patches later on.

step 3 water

Watering is most important

Don't forget to water. Water after sowing and then keep a eye on the patch. It is important that the area where the wildflower roll has been placed/annual seed sown does not dry out in the early stages of germination. The tiny seeds when they first germinate are at risk of drying out and this will cause them to die. 

Seedlings just emerging


This is how the patch looks just as the seedlings start to emerge. This is part of the critical watering stage. . 

Germination will take place anything from 7 to 14 days after sowing depending on the seeds and sowing conditions. If you find you have any bare patches, you can always add a bit of seed just after germination.

step 6 of wildflower meadow early plant growth

Plants established and starting to flower

This image was taken about a month later. The seedlings have become small plants and some are just starting to flower.

By this stage, it is not necessary to water unless there is an unusually dry spell. The plants are established and will be self supporting in usual summer weather conditions.

Wildflower area in full bloom

I took the image in my garden, and is an accurate representation of the effect which can be achieved with a small area of wildflowers. I created this using a wildflower mat and was it in full bloom for several weeks, and buzzing with bees and pollinators. 

You can also create a more permanent wildflower area using perennial wildflowers. 

wildflower patch

Growing a wildflower meadow from seed

Wildflowers are easily grown from a seed mix which easy to germinate. If you want to create a larger areas seed is more economical. There are a good variety of wildflower mixes on sale and the seed is much cheaper than the impregnated Matt. The steps are just the same as above, in terms of clearing the ground and raking the soil.

Once the ground is clear of all weeds and well raked, sow the seed as per the directions on the packets which usually is a set amount of grammes per square meter, water well and wait for it to germinate.

I found wildflowers, because of the varied mix, flowered for many months and the image right is of the patch in September when it was still full of flowers and attracting the bees and butterflies.


Last updated 31.12.2021