Now the cooler weather is here, if you’re looking for a way to revamp your backyard landscape and add a touch of natural flair to your lawn, consider planting wildflowers as you would see them around town or at local botanical gardens.
Texas wildflowers are attractive and help draw in beneficial pollinators, like honey bees and butterflies, and can increase the overall appearance of your lawn and home.
To make sure you don’t fall victim to a common landscaping mistake, follow these tips on how to incorporate wild flowers naturally into your outdoor space.
1. Keep it neat and tidy
Consider planting wildflowers in specially designated patches or strips so that their blossoming is purposeful, not disordered. Wildflowers work well when planted as a border species, especially when they are regularly thinned to keep them from sprawling everywhere as they grow.
2. Use perennial flowers
Most wildflower blends consist of perennial seeds, but not all do. Self-seeding perennials help eliminate the need to replace plants between seasons, and also preserve the authenticity and natural look of your wildflower patch.
3. Pick the right blooms
Select plants that have some showy characteristics, like vibrantly colored flowers and leaves with interesting textures. You need plants that are not poisonous to humans, or animals if you have pets. Most wildflower blends are well-adapted to any conditions, but if you’re unsure, make sure the plant you choose is native to your region.
Some of the best wildflower favorites include coneflowers, phlox, cardinal flowers and native sunflowers. Semi-woody plants help to create a more natural effect, as do small shrubs.
When you’re selecting the types of wildflowers you’d like to plant, make sure that none of the ones you plant are invasive or noxious weeds. Do your research ahead of time by making a list of the most aggressive plants, and try to avoid planting them in your wildflower patch.
4. Consider planting in containers or raised beds
Wildflowers look most natural when planted directly into the ground, but don’t think for a second that traditional planting is your only option. Mix and match containers of different heights, styles, and colors to create an elegant container garden, or intersperse your wildflowers in raised beds for a gorgeous, natural-looking display.
5. Add some mulch or accessories
Mulch is often overlooked for wildflower planting, but plays an integral role in reducing pests and diseases as well as improving the soil quality for your developing plants. Mulch can protect the soil from becoming too dry or too damp, and will also keep it nice and cool during the hottest days of a Texas summer.
You can also add classic landscaping features like paved walkways, fencing, gates, vines and stones. Birdbaths or sculptures are another great way to draw some attention to this show stopping patch.
6. Maintain a straight edge
Keep a neat edge on your wildflower patch by maintaining a straight mowing edge. You can use a border, such as a thin line of rocks, to keep your wildflowers in place. This will also prevent your wildflowers from spreading to undesired areas.
Additionally, though bagging clippings is not recommended in Texas, you may want to add a bag when mowing around your flower beds to keep clippings from blowing in.
7. Remember the importance of location
While wildflowers are tolerant of just about any growing conditions, provided that the plants you choose are native to your local region, you don’t want to plant wildflowers in areas of heavy foot traffic. Create walking paths among the wildflowers so that you can still enjoy a relaxing stroll among them–as well as to give your pets a place to meander–without worrying about crushing your plants’ foliage and compacting the soil.
Beyond that, where you choose to plant your blooms is up to you. You don’t want to plant too strategically, as wildflowers are meant to grow erratically, but you can plant them in clusters to help create the appearance of controlled chaos.
Katie Kuchta is a gardening and outdoor living guru, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.