Want bluebonnets and butterflies in your garden next Spring?
Then this is the time to sow your wild seeds!
Why go Wild?
Fall is the best time to plant in Austin. And, if you want to do something to benefit the environment, help struggling butterfly and bee populations, and cover a barren patch of lawn with color and life, this is also the best time to plant your wildflower seeds.
Consider the addition of a wildflower border or garden to that area of your landscape that lacks irrigation or never thrives with traditional plants and grasses. Native wildflowers, like the Bluebonnet, are adapted to poor soil and irregular rainfall.
What to Plant
Indian paintbrush, Bluebells, Bluebonnets, and Purple coneflower are just a few of the Texas varieties that thrive in our area. Select your favorites and get tips on planting from the experts at the “Fall Native Plant Sale” at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 21st. Here are details on the event. https://www.wildflower.org/event/fall-sale-public
Sowing Your Wild Seeds
Sowing your wild seeds is quite easy.
• Soil contact is the goal – your seeds should rest on the ground or be lightly tamped down – don’t bury deeper than 1/8th of an inch
• Sow approximately 6 to 10 seeds per square foot
• If planting a large areas, mix your seeds with some sand to disperse them more evenly
• If you wish to sow your wildflower seeds over an existing area of native grass, mow as low as you can go, rake away the thatch, and scatter the seeds evenly
• Consider topping your seeds with a dusting of Dillo Dirt (locally made compost) before their first watering
• Water well at planting, but do not overwater and do not allow the soil to completely dry during the first two weeks of germination
Wildflowers, especially milkweed, which Monarchs need, can take time to establish. Do not be surprised if your first thriving crop of some wildflower varieties takes two full years to establish. Just be patient and keep trying. It is well worth the effort.
Each year, you can fill bare spots to fortify your wildflower garden or meadow and by the third or fourth year, your well-established, self-sustaining wildflower garden will be alive with bloom, birds and butterflies!