Widely-Adapted Wildflowers to Plant in Your Garden
I shuddered when I saw the suggestion of planting evening primrose. We planted Mexican primrose and it is almost impossible to get rid of and spreads all over the place with a dense roof system that keeps other plants from thriving. Absolute nuisance plant, stay far away from it!
So, these are different plants. O. Berlandieri, or Mexican evening primrose is a spreading perennial that grows to a height of only one foot. Common evening primrose, Oenothera biennis L., can grow as tall as 6 feet. This plant is a biennial which produces leafy stalks the first year, which are adorned by large, lemon-yellow flowers in the plant’s second year of life.
Common evening primrose is a native with special value to our bees and a food source for birds, wildlife, moths, and many pollinators, including the sachem skipper (Atalopedes campestris). See the Lady Bird Wilflower site to learn more about common evening primose. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=OEBI
This was our first year for our wild flower garden. Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome. There were some weeds - we cutout as many as we could, but you can/never get them all. We have had our first frost and the garden looks pretty dismal. Do I cut everything down, or just leave until the spring?
Hi Pam, If the flowers have already gone to seed or still have dried seeds on them, it is perfectly safe to cut them back to the ground. After you cut off the tops, shake out remaining attached seeds into areas you’d like them to come up in next year. This is especially important for any annuals you may have, as they will only return next year from seed.
That said, if you can live with the way it looks, we do not cut down our wildflowers until spring because they are there to give wildlife and pollinators shelter and food for the winter. It’s this wildlife that gives us the flowers and our food and is declining. If you go this route, don’t worry, it does not keep new flowers from emerging in the fall. This is the way of nature.
I live on a small suburban plot in the Sacramento Valley California with all native plants and a thick layer of mulch. Should I remove the mulch completely when I sow wildflower seeds or should I replace a thin layer after sowing? Thanks for your advice.
Yes, heavy mulches such as bark mulch should be removed prior to sowing seeds, as they will block out the sunlight. Don’t add bark mulch over top of the seeds. If you’re concerned about water running off the soil, you could use a very thin layer of straw to help hold things in place while the seeds germinate—treat the process as if you were reseeding a lawn!
A healthy wildflower patch typically includes a variety of annuals, biennials, and perennials, and because most will reseed themselves, you’ll want to leave the ground open for seeds to keep germinating freely.
Hello, is the last week of July too late to plant wildflowers? Or should I wait until after Sept to fall plant for next year?
It will depend on your climate, and the species that you are planting. For best advice for your area, you might contact your county's Cooperative Extension. See:
In general, spring and fall planting is best, but some seeds might do fine if planted in summer, as long as you are diligent about watering.