It is a common misconception that the best time to sow wildflower seeds is in the spring. Dr. Emily Attlee, co-founder of wildflower specialist, Seedball, explains why autumn is, in fact, a great time to get to work on your flower patch.
Spring is the time of year when people’s minds generally turn to new life and growth, with warmer days urging us outdoors to enjoy nature. Scattering wildflower seeds in autumn, however, means that your wildflower garden will get a head start, and will result in beautiful flowers to welcome in the spring. Autumn sowing not only means that you will be treated to a colourful display of pollinator-friendly plants come spring, but it’s a chance to enjoy your garden at a beautiful time of year, as the light is soft, the air is still warm, and a moment of reflection can be taken following a particularly long summer.
The advantages of scattering wildflower seeds in autumn are multiple. The soil will still be warm enough, having stored up all of that energy from the summer sun, and there is extra moisture in the air. These two conditions work together to aid germination, giving the seeds the best possible start. Also, some seeds, such as poppies, actually require a cold period before germination, so an autumn sowing will get them prepped for putting on a display the following spring.
Sowing in autumn also means that nature will take care of the watering for you. With the weather changing and rainfall increasing at this time of year, very little intervention will be needed from you to keep your seeds happy. When using a product such as Seedball, too, you know that the seeds are protected until they are ready to look after themselves. The protective balls are made from a combination of British wildflower seeds, clay to protect from predators such as birds and ants, peat-free compost to provide nutrition, and a little bit of chilli powder to deter slugs and snails.
It is also important to note that wildflowers prosper in poorer soils – there is no need to painstakingly prepare a seedbed for these beauties. If you notice that your potential wildflower patch has been covered in fallen leaves, gather them up and save them to provide leaf mould for your vegetable patch. Leaves release nutrients into the soil as they break down, which is great for vegetables, but not for wildflowers.
You can keep scattering your seed balls all the way up until the first frosts arrive. This will differ across the country, but if your nights are not icy, you will still be able to scatter.
Two great selections to get scattering now are our Hedgehog Mix and the Artist’s Meadow collection. The hedgehog mix contains a mix of Yellow Rattle, Wild Carrot, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Tufted Vetch, Self Heal and Poppy, with proceeds going towards People’s Trust for Endangered Species, whist the Artist’s Meadow has proceeds to the Wildlife Trusts and boasts seeds of Common Poppy, Oxeye Daisy, Musk Mallow, Corn Marigold, Purple Field Scabious, Red Campion and White Cow Parsley.
A simple scattering of seed balls today will result in a brighter, wilder tomorrow!
To find out more about Seedball visit https://seedball.co.uk/