How to grow meadow wildflowers in a lawn

Convert your lawn into a wildflower meadow and the butterflies and honeybees will come back, hears how to do it......


How to grow wildflowers in a lawn

Growing Wildflowers in your lawn will encourage Wildlife of all kinds to visit your garden.

 

Human visitors to your garden especially older folk who can still remember wildflower meadows, poppy fields, cornflowers, and chewing on a stem of wild grass, will reminisce about those days.

 

Young kids who have never rolled around in wild grass will simply love it.

A wildflower lawn is low maintenance requiring cutting only about twice a year, more about that later and is also very beautiful when in full flower. 

 

Changing your lawn into a wildflower meadow is easy,8 tips here to help.

 

 Where have all the butterflies gone

Where have all the butterflies gone Mum? They have gone hunting for food and homes son. 

 

Why is it Brexit? No worse than that. The wildflower meadows that were their homes, and the wildflower nectar that was their food have all gone. 

 

What can Theresa May do?   Nothing she has got her hands full with brexit.  

 

What can we do mum?   Nothing son. 

 

Could we grow a meadow in our lawn please mum, flowerpotman says it is easy to grow wildflowers.

 


 

  1. Size of the meadow area can be as large or as small as you want.
  2. Existing lawns can be sown with a mix of wild flower and grass seeds or planted with plugs, see below.
  3. Bare ground can be seeded, or turfed with impregnated turf, in the same way as a grass lawn. link on this page.
  4. Type of soil wildflowers and grasses grow in. Information on this page.
  5. Preparing the ground for turfing or seeding a wildflower meadow. see below
  6. When to cut the meadow, see article below. 
  7. What is a wildflower meadow. Answer here.
  8. A little bit of the history and how they were used and maintained described further down on this page.
Wildflowers for a lawn
Wildflower seed Mat

the best position in a garden to grow a wildflower lawn

 Like most flowers and grasses your meadow will grow best in an open non shaded position in your garden, however seeds that tolerate shady areas, these are mostly hedgerow and woodland plants, can be sown and will thrive. 

If the wildflower lawn extends into trees or a wildlife hedge, grass banks and  stony areas etc. the greater the diversity of the grasses and wildflowers you will be able to grow. 
Visit these pages for my guide to 
A wild lawn is not as neat and tidy as a chemical lawn and its not immediately obvious that you are creating something beautiful, so if you are worried about your neighbours or family thinking you have lost the plot or neglecting your lawn, you might want to fence off the area you are going to let go wild. The best and cheapest way is to erect a simple rustic fence of half posts set on round posts.

Traditional wildflower meadows can contain up to 100 species of flowering plants. Some competing with the grass and this is why they have been killed of by chemical dependant farmers.
 
The grasses and wildflowers you can seed, or encourage naturally over a longer period, will depend on the type of soil in your garden some prefer clay, some sandy, some saturated and some dry but all prefer poor soil. 
 
I have listed wildflowers and the types of soil including acid soil, sandy soil,loam, clay sole and saturated soil and on the banks of wildlife ponds further down this page.
 
If you are planning to create a wildflower meadow in your garden or let an existing lawn go wild the most important thing you need to do, is to stop using fertilisers NOW to reduce the fertility of the soil.
 
Types of Soil and species of wild flowers that grow in it.
The wild flowers you choose, whether you are  transplanting  container grown wild meadow flowers, or sowing wild flower seeds must suit your type of soil. Acid clay, Chalk or Sandy soil.
I have listed a few species of wild flowers and the soil they thrive in, on this page , soil wildflowers grow in.

How to Prepare the ground for sowing wildflower seeds in an existing lawn.

 


Unless the soil has been saturated with nutrients or contains Rye grass you won't need to remove the existing turf, most domestic lawn grasses are not that vigorous, but it is helpful to reduce competition by the grass by sowing Yellow Rattle seed into the lawn. Its parasitic on the roots of grasses, and once established will reduce the growth of the grass by about 50%. 

Yellow Rattle grows naturally in all established wildflower meadows and is sown between August and December as it needs a period of cold to germinate.

How to remove Rye grass from a lawn
When converting an existing lawn you will need to remove all trace of rye grass as it will compete vigorously with your wild flowers. Weed killers wont work with out killing of the other grasses.

The only option is to meticulously dig the rye grass out, making sure none is left to spread its way back into your wildflower lawn. Or remove the complete lawn and resow with a hay meadow mix of seeds.

Weedy lawnIf the lawn is full off weeds they will compete with wildflowers, it might be easier to remove or kill of the complete lawn and seed with a wild grass and flower mix. 

Preparing the ground for laying meadow lawn turf

Completely remove the old lawn digging out and removing all existing plants and weeds, including the roots, especially deep rooting weed like dandelions. Dig or rotovate the soil to a depth of at least 15cm and then follow the instructions on my lawn turfing page

Very fertile soil

If the area contains very fertile soil you will need to remove the top 2 or 3 inches, wild grasses and wild meadow flowers grow in poor soil, for a large area, hiring a digger will save you a lot of time and sweat.

Wildflowers cannot compete over the long term with lush weed growth, so it's best to start with a completely weed-free site. This will mean digging out any existing plants or using a weedkiller .

Next work out the 
type of soil you have in your garden, Acid clay, Chalk, Loam, Saturated or Sandy soil. Now select a mix of Wildflowers and Grasses that will thrive in the type of soil in your garden. Follow the sowing instructions on the packet and  create a wildflower lawn.

The tips on this page should  help grow and maintain your wildflower mini meadow, but If you want the hard work done for you 
contact
 Mike
.

Planting and growing wildflowers in a lawn

Planting or sowing wildflowers into an existing lawn.

There are several ways to introduce wild meadow flowers in to your lawn, transplanting wildflowers , sowing seeds directly into your lawn and the easiest way laying a wildflower seed mat.

Transplanting wildflowers into a lawn.  

Time consuming and expensive but will speed up the appearance of wildflowers growing in your lawn.

Transplanting meadow wildflowers from pots or plugs directly into your wild lawn is the quickest way to establish wildflowers in your wild lawn and can be bought online as pot plants or as plugs, and planted direct into the wild lawn.

 

Container-grown wild flowers can be planted out in autumn to establish over winter or planted in early spring before the grass has grown to tall.

 

The wild lawn/wild flower meadow area needs to be cut short before planting, making sure to remove the cut grass to your compost heap. Try to mix the species and plant the wildflower plants informally, as if seed had blown in on the breeze. Depending on your budget, plant as many as you can for a quick effect, but remember they will reseed in the Autumn after flowering, eventually covering the whole wild flower lawn. 

 

You will need to choose plants that will grow in the type of soil in your garden.

 

Sowing wildflower seeds into an existing  lawn.

This way is a bit slower than transplanting ready-grown plants, but achieves the best results in the long run and is relatively cheap. 

 

Grass preparation is fairly easy. You will need to cut the grass very short and remove the clippings from the lawn. Then firmly rake the 

area removing as much of the thatch as possible to create open areas where seeds can get to the soil and germinate.

Sow in autumn using a wild flower mix that suits your type of soil, at 1.5g per square metre. Then rake the area over after sowing to help the seed into the soil.

As the seedlings start to show in the late autumn or spring, you will need to give your new wild flower lawn a mow, setting the blade fairly high to about 3in, this allows light to reach the emerging seedlings.

 

In the following seasons your wild flower lawn should be left to grow to its natural height, to allow the flowers to naturally spread there seeds. More about this later.

Choose a seed mix without grass seed from the seed shop

 

There is a third way letting wildflowers seed naturally

It will take a long time especially in a lawn that is isolated from a wild meadow. If you are lucky enough to have a wild meadow fairly near to you, wind and birds will speed this up.

If you choose this method, leaving it to nature to seed your wild flower lawn allowing your lawn to turn into a wild lawn naturally,  the first wildflowers to appear will be the low rosette type lawn weeds, including daisies,  plantains and cat's ear and the creeping plants such as selfheal  and  speedwells.

 

As your wild lawn or meadow establishes, the height of the grass will increase and the taller plants and wild meadow flowers will appear and the daisies and other low growing wild flowers will gradually disappear in some areas of the wild lawn.

 

Airborne seeds and seeds delivered by birds will slowly begin to build up  turning your lawn into a beautiful wildflower meadow.  With this method you won't need to be concerned with the type of soil you have. Natural selection will be at work in your lawn.

For When to cut a wildflower lawn or meadow scroll down

This is the really easy way to grow wildflowers in a lawn, simply insert a Wildflower seed mat into the existing grass 

    • Place the seed mat where you want it to grow cover with a little soil or compost, and water - and you will get flowers in a few Months, create a perfect wildflower meadow in your garden with minimum fuss and digging
    • Makes the ideal habitat for bees and butterflies when in  flower - makes your garden a home for them
    • Contains over 40 varieites of annual and perennial widlflower seeds, all pre-spaced in a biodegrable seed mat
    • Can be cut to shape or size for growing in pots, or use the full 2M x 48cm mat as an insert to lawns

Wildflower seed mat 

Available from amazon


What is an English wildflower hay meadow.

English wildflower hay meadow.
 
Over the years we have lost many of our British traditional wildflower and hay meadows, remember the poppies and cornflowers and the butterflies and birds they attracted.
Planting up motorway verges and banks with grass and wildflowers is helping, also making motorway driving more interesting and enjoyable, but its no longer easy to find flowering hay meadows to enjoy in the countryside.

A hay meadow was an area of grassland that was grown for hay to feed the farm livestock over winter. The grass was cut for hay in July and August, by then the wildflowers and grasses would have shed there seeds to reproduce the following seasons display of wild flowers, the cows were then allowed back into the freshly cut meadow to graze through until early spring. In severe winters most farmers housed the herd and fed them with the hay.
 
How to Maintain a wildflower lawn
In the second and following seasons allow your wildflower lawn or meadow to grow to its full height and go to seed. Think about the cycle a wildflower meadow goes through !!  Spring germination, late spring and summer flowering. late summer  producing  seed inAutumn spreading those seeds, dying off in Winter and then in Springtime starting all over again.
 
What a treat you are in for.  A wild flower meadow would be cut for hay in July or August.  A wild flower lawn is best cut in August in warm dry weather, after flowering and when the wild flowers have gone to seed.
 

When to mow a wildflower lawn or meadow

Cut the wildflower lawn in late July/early August, try to leave a strip around the edge to provide nectar for the butterflies.

 Leave the Grass and wild flowers on the ground for about a week, this will allow the seeds that haven't yet dropped to dry out fall into the soil. When you rake up and remove the meadow grass and wild flowers from your lawn to the compost heap, try not to carry it over a lawn or area of garden you want to keep clear off weeds. The hay will still be full of wild flower and weed seeds.
 
One more thing, remember I told you the cows are let back into the meadow to graze once the hay had been harvested, well unless you can borrow a cow you will need to mow your wild flower lawn now and then through winter if the weather allows, not forgetting to collect the clipping the cows would have chewed on.

If the wildflower lawn extends into trees or a wildlife hedge, grass banks and  stony areas etc. the greater the diversity of the grasses and wildflowers you will be able to grow. I have included a guide to the types of Soil and the wild meadow flowers that will grow in them on this page.
 
Hope these tips help you to grow a wildflower meadow lawn.
flowerpotman.com