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Why Autumn is the Time to Sow Wildflowers

When we think of wildflowers, we think of glorious summer meadows and endlessly long sunny days. We don't stop to think about how those wildflowers actually get to how we see them during the summer months. Where are they in the winter? What about autumn?

It turns out that autumn is the best time of year to sow wildflowers native to the UK. As wildflowers are vital to us and our food chain because they attract pollinating insects, whatever works best for them is the way we should do it. Here's more about sowing wildflowers in autumn and why it's the best time.


What makes autumn the best time to plant wildflower seeds?

Quite simply, it's because it's the way it would happen if we didn't have anything to do with it! Most species of wildflower drop or release their seeds at the end of summer or at the beginning of autumn – and nothing knows better than nature, right?

If you're looking for wildflower seeds then head to this website for advice and information.

Autumn's conditions are just right

As this season is mild and damp, some seeds will actually germinate in autumn, but many more will remain dormant beneath the soil over the winter. As soon as temperatures rise and there's more daylight hours, they'll start to come back to life.

As there's a definite winter in the UK, native wildflower species have evolved to need a period of cold temperatures, followed by a spring, to kick-start their germination process. This is known as vernalisation and the seeds need the autumn-winter-spring sequence to "tell" them to start growing. Poppies and cowslips in particular need this cold spell to grow properly.

Working with nature always gets the best results

By planting or sowing in autumn, we let the seeds establish themselves and follow their natural cycle. Even better, gardeners won't have to do so much watering as the skies will probably oblige over the colder months!

Autumn comes at different times for different soils

If you start to dig into the soil too early in the season, it might present you with problems if it's still hard-baked and dry. On the other hand, if you leave it too late you might find the soil too cold and waterlogged for the seeds to start off in. You need to wait for the "just right" time, when the soil is soft and damp enough to be turned over and dug into easily.

What happens after you've actually sown your seeds?

Some seeds will germinate rapidly and produce a few small leaves, then not do much until spring. Others will do precisely nothing!

Once temperatures really start to drop, both the seeds and the shoots will go into a kind of stasis, waiting for daylight and temperatures to increase. As they're all sleeping peacefully, you don't need to do anything – no watering, no feeding – to help them along. All you need to do is to wait until spring when everything starts off again, which can't be a bad thing!

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