Wildflowers are a low-maintenance and long-lasting addition to any garden. Often planted as annual or perennial meadows, they make a wildlife-friendly alternative to lawns or a quick and easy way to fill a border. Not sure which varieties to choose? The easiest way is to use a themed wildflower mixture. You can also choose individual varieties of wildflower seeds if you prefer to concentrate on your favourites. Here are our top ten wildflowers and how to grow them.
1. Cornflower ‘Blue Diadem’
The intense, azure blue flowers of Cornflower ‘Blue Diadem’ were once a common sight dotted through golden cornfields. This charming annual makes an unforgettable impact in grassy meadows and summer borders. Sow between March and May for flowers in June, July, and August. The bright blue flowers grow up to 75cm tall and also look great in a vase.
2. Cowslip (Primula veris)
Holding an RHS Award of Garden Merit, the stiff stems of Primula veris carry whorls of pendulous yellow flowers above swathes of lush, mid green foliage. Perfect ground-cover in natural planting schemes, the delicate fragrance of these edible flowers is an added bonus. Reaching a height of 25cm, sow your seeds between March and May for flowers in June, July and August.
3. Meadowland mixture
Our meadowland mixture includes over 30 types of pretty wildflowers including lady’s bedstraw, meadow buttercup, corn chamomile, wild clary, cowslip, crane’s-bill, ox-eye daisy and many others. With varied heights of 20-150cm, some flowers emerge the first summer after sowing, while the rest appear in spring, summer or autumn the next year.
4. Lychnis flos-cuculi
A perennial wildflower with delicate bright pink flowers, Lychnis flos-cuculi (Ragged Robin) has attractive raggedy petals that come into bloom from May to August. A good choice for difficult, damp areas of the garden, the stems vary in height from 25cm to 100cm.
5. Wild poppy
The bright scarlet flowers of wild poppies (Papaver rhoeas) traditionally dot cornfields with bright scarlet flowers. Sow your seeds in thick swathes for a bold carpet of red, or scatter randomly through your borders and wait for the flowers to peep through your perennials. An annual flower that self-seeds happily, you can expect your poppies to return every year in early summer. Sow between March and October.
6. Cornfield mixture
Sow the cornfield mixture along paths or near your vegetable garden where the nectar-rich flowers will attract pollinating insects and beneficial predators. White campion, corn chamomile, field forget-me-not and poppies make up just a portion of this varied mix. Plants vary in height from 15cm to 60cm and flower during the summer.
Teasel is a tall, striking, thistle-like plant with serrated leaves and large spiny flower heads. It’s a valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies, and attracts seed-eating birds to your garden. This biennial plant self-seeds freely once established, and the lilac flowers appear through July and August.
8. Fritillaria meleagris
The captivating, bell-shaped flowers of Fritillaria meleagris are instantly recognizable by their distinctive snake-skin markings. Snake head fritillaries look best planted in drifts, and prefer damp shady areas and informal areas of grass. Sow these rare native flowers between March and May for flowers in the same months the following year.
9. Butterfly mixture
Excellent for creating bold and varied drifts of colour in your garden, Butterfly mixture has been specifically designed to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects. Turn a section of your garden or allotment into a haven for wildlife by sowing the seeds onto prepared soil in the spring. Your flowers will appear between June and September.
10. Wildflower ‘Woodland shade mix’
To brighten up darker corners of the garden, Woodland shade mix contains native foxgloves, sweet peas, forget-me-nots and more shade-loving woodland species. Scatter the mix straight from the box and rake into the soil wherever you want your colourful wildflower mix to grow. If you sow the seeds in spring and autumn, expect to see some species flower the same year, and some the following year, between April and September.