Growing Tips for Wildflowers
Soil: 1:1:1: peat:sand:leaf mould.
Container: 6+" plastic pot.
Watering: moist to well drained.
Light: partial to dappled sun.
Temperature: warm summer, cool winter-tolerates frost.
Location: outdoors, cold greenhouse.
Wildflowers grow naturally in the woodsy areas above bogs, pocosins and fens of primarily eastern N. America. They typically prefer the dappled sunlight of the forest floor where the peat/sand soil is more humusy, drier, but consistently moist, and covered with a thick layer of decomposing leaves. Most species grow across multiple hardiness zones from Zones 3 to 9 making them adaptable from deep winter freezes to milder temperate winters. They frequently grow in association hardwood trees, and are excellent companions for the bog garden margins.
Wildflowers naturally grow in wooded areas. They typically prefer drier, more humusy soil that is well drained, yet consistently moist. Their habitat is typically partially shaded with dappled, filtered sunlight. The standard Carnivorous Plant soil mix of peat and sand works well, if you add and leaf mould to their soil. Most mature wildflowers prefer a wider large pot of 6-8+” (15-20cm) because their roots usually grow long and shallow. Most do best when the soil is evenly moist, but drier than bog orchids and most Carnivorous Plants. Let the soil become drier; yet remain somewhat moist, during winter dormancy. Water from below. They do best planted in the soil. They prefer partial shade growing in a thick layer of humus and leaves. Provide a winter mulch of 4-6" of weed-free hay or pine needles. Best flowering occurs in mature, undisturbed plants.
Wildflowers can be propagated from mature rhizome divisions, by separating individual rooted shoots or from seed. Some need stratification (cool, damp winter).
A winter rest period is required of mature plants. As day length and temperature diminish the plant will slow its growth and die back, starting at the tops. Cut back on winter watering, but allow the soil to stay moist. Provide cooler temperatures during dormancy. A cold porch or garage may work well.
Wildflowers benefit from mild fertilization, and will not tolerate heavy fertility.
Remove the flower spike after flowering. The development and setting of seeds requires a lot of energy. Strong plants will result, if this energy goes into leaves and roots.
Wildflowers are best grown outdoors, and are not good house or terrarium plants.
Repot every few years in a fresh soil mix, since the peat breaks down and can create poor drainage.
Plant in the center of the pot with the crown about 1/2" below the surface. This is a good time to divide any multi-bud plants. Repotting is best done in the fall or very early spring, before active growth begins. A soil top dressing of pine needles works well.
When weeding, hold the plant by one hand and weed with the other. This will keep you from pulling the plant out by its roots.