Get to know your flowers: sow a pinch of seed in a pot of compost. As the seedlings grow, check them against the ones emerging in the flowerbed and pull out the ones that don’t match.
For these plants, which are particularly tough, use a garden fork to remove as much of the plant as possible:
Mark where you’ve sown your seeds with a fine sprinkle of dry sand.
Hints and tips
To make it more manageable, why not have a weeding party: many hands make light work so invite friends, relatives and neighbours to help!
There’s a whole host of information on Wikipedia about different types of weed control, which you may find useful.
As plants emerge, most are small and green so telling which is which involves a bit of cunning. If you have sown your seeds in a particular pattern then you should be able to identify when shoots are appearing where they shouldn’t be. However, it’s not always that easy!
We also recommend using the hive mind: a neighbour or relative might know about weeds. Ask for a crash course on plant identification.
Can a wildflower garden become established and continue to self-sow, without becoming too invasive? Actually, the perennials won’t bloom the first year and if you are hoping to enjoy the garden for years to come, an occasional overseeding will help to maintain the balance of plants. This can be done every couple of years or whenever you notice an imbalance, perhaps due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky
If you are planting a large area and are going for a meadow look, you should consider including some turf grasses in your mixture to fill in thin spots and discourage weeds. Hardy fescues are a good choice in Northern zones. In warmer climates, Kentucky 31 or tall fescue are preferred. Ryegrass and bluegrass tend to be too competitive with flowers and are not good choices. About 25 pounds of grass seed per acre would do.
Planting a Wildflower Garden
Even a wild look requires some planning and effort. The good news is that most of the effort is in getting it started.
The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky
Many gardeners naively believe you can simply scatter some seeds, ignore the gardening basics, and wind up with a self-sowing meadow of bluebells and lace caps. In truth, starting a wildflower garden is often more work than putting in a perennial border and it is not necessarily self-perpetuating.
If these plants are truly wild (weeds, to most highway maintenance crews), why must they be coddled and coaxed out of the ground? Well, let’s start with what growing a wildflower garden actually means.