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 Post subject: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 2, 2019 1:00 pm 
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My wildflower seeds are barely coming up. How big do they have to be to survive winter? Some have been coming up for six weeks, but aren't growing very fast. Some are just now popping up above the dirt.

Thanks! This is the first time I've ever tried wildflower seeds. All of them grow on my property naturally. I just want a lot more.

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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 2, 2019 9:38 pm 
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I planted a bunch this year, too... this summer everything seems to be late. I still have daylilies that are yet to bloom. most wildflowers drop seeds at end of season that pop up the next year. let's hope they have a chance to do so.

oh and did you prep the ground or just toss them out there? a lot of folks make the mistake of just tossing the seeds. They need preparation of the ground like any seeds...clearing of other plant material and adding garden soil mixed in (preferably with a rototiller

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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 6:06 am 
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Depends on the wildflower.
True perennials just need to have a good root system.
Those that reseed themselves, need to flower and form mature seeds (and hope the birds and rodents don't eat the seeds).

I never prep the soil for wild flowers. I just choose sites where I know they will survive.

That's the thing about wild flowers, they have survived without our help just fine. As long as they are in the right environment, they'll be okay.

However if you want to plant non-native wild flowers then yeah prep the soil and water them and pamper them. They might need that help to survive.


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 6:35 am 
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Location: "...and the flag was still there.”
They went into my regular beds that have been built up for 31 years. Other places got a little top soil and others were just sprinkled and stepped on. They are perennials and most likely won't flower this year. I will just hope. To reproduce in the wild, seeds stay on the ground until spring. That should mean I can sow for next year without the seeds being damaged?

I also have some bulbs coming next month. Almost all of these will go in the beds with the good soil. Anything more I need to do to the dirt? When is the best time to plant bulbs up here? I already have four Iris and several Squall I planted 30 years ago. They come up very well every year, but the Iris don't bloom anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 6:45 am 
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Bulbs need to be planted in the fall so they grow roots over the end of winter and beginning of spring. Perhaps in October would be best up here. You'll need to protect them, however, as many critter up here will dig up and eat the bulbs.

I agree with CooknThyme, if the wildflower seeds and resulting plants are perennials and if they have a good root system and get enough moisture over the winter, the sprouted plants will survive. The moisture over the winder is critical, if we don't get enough snow and the snow doesn't persist in the area you planted the seeds, the sleeping plants may dry up and die. I know a couple of gardeners who water their flower gardens several times through the winter.

I planted a whole vegi garden area with a mix of annuals and perennials just hoping to get some color in an area I wasn't using this year. The seeds were planted out in mid-June in well tilled garden soil and raked in. And so far, they are only about 3 inches tall and basically doing nothing. A big disappointment, but then most of my garden is not growing well; it's a weird summer.


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 6:55 am 
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Technically you could sow wildflowers seeds in the fall. They are not "damaged" with cold weather, they just get eaten. I sow wildflower seeds in late April or early May just before a snow storm.

Be sure to freeze your seeds if you pick wildflower seeds yourself. They need to be stored for at least 2 months in the freezer to prepare them for planting.

This is a great year to harvest seeds from hills, meadows and road sides. Make a note now of what seeds you want because once they are mature enough to collect, the plant won't look the same and are very hard to identify.

Many native wildflowers don't like rich garden soil and some don't mind. Be aware that planting them where they don't normally grow will shorten their lives. They might come back a year or two then die off.

As for bulbs I usually plant them in early to mid October. Most of my bulbs get eaten by rodents at some point. I rarely plant them any more. But I know many gardeners who have great luck with bulbs up here.


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 6:59 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
The moisture over the winter is critical, if we don't get enough snow and the snow doesn't persist in the area you planted the seeds, the sleeping plants may dry up and die. I know a couple of gardeners who water their flower gardens several times through the winter.


:yeah that:


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 8:41 am 
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This is where I get my seeds from. Here is blog on planting in fall.
https://www.edenbrothers.com/store/blog ... s-in-fall/

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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 3, 2019 8:52 am 
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I buy seeds from them too. Good quality!

But be discerning when taking their advice on planting. They gear their advice to those much further east than us. They are in NC.

Our micro-climate is very different than most of the US. We typically can not follow general gardening rules of thumb with much success.

Our winters are so long that planting wildflowers in the fall risks all the seeds to be eaten before our spring (our last frost is in May or June vs their Feb or March).

Wildflower seeds are expensive, why feed the birds and rodents... wait til Spring.


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 4, 2019 6:19 am 
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I had thought of birds and mice eating the newly sowed seeds, but not about bulbs being eaten. :?

I do have Squill that still bloom after 31 years, the brightest part of early spring for me. My four that don't bloom anymore are Iris. The plants are healthy, just no flowers. Any remedies for that?

I appreciate your help. I remember planting vegetable gardens as a kid, but have never tried flowers.

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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 4, 2019 6:58 am 
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aspenleaf wrote:
My four that don't bloom anymore are Iris. The plants are healthy, just no flowers. Any remedies for that?


There are several reasons why irises may fail to bloom.

Moisture. Irises like well drained soil. They are drought tolerant but they like a good drink once or twice a week. Too much rain/watering will stop them from blooming

Soil. They can tolerate a wide range of pH but prefer to be slightly acid. They don't like super rich soil. They do fine in sandy, rocky soils.. Over fertilizing is a huge problem. Too much nitrogen will create beautiful leaves at the sacrifice of blooms. But they do need phosphorus to bloom. If you feel you must fertilize, then use something specific to irises.

Location. They prefer full sun, but can tolerate a little bit of shade. However, the more shade the fewer blooms.

Planting depth. This is one thing that most people get wrong. Do not completely cover the rhizomes! Ideally the top 1/3 of the rhizomes should be above soil line (yes I said above). The leaves will do okay with deeply planted rhizomes, but generally will not bloom but 1 or 2 years.

Over crowding. Clumps need to be divided regularly. I do it every 2-3 years. I usually do it in the fall, but I've had success doing it in the Spring as well.

Competition. They don't like to have other plants too close. Give them their own space.

Fortunately they are super easy to transplant.


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 Post subject: Re: How big before winter?
Post Posted: Aug 4, 2019 10:59 am 
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I just hope we have a real winter! Last year wasn't much of a winter and we really didn't have a winter the two previous winters before that!


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