How to: sow wildflowers
Photo - Orien Harvey/Gettyimages.com
Our bush wildflowers make a stunning display.
Autumn is the time to sow wildflowers for a swathe of colour through your own garden.
Try flannel flowers, everlastings, or Sturt desert pea (Swainsona formosa) with its bold whorls of glossy, deep-red flowers. This beauty can be grown as a groundcover or in a hanging basket. Soak seeds overnight in a cup of hot water. Swollen seeds can then be sown. Unswollen seeds should be lightly scratched with a knife or sandpaper opposite the eye, and then soaked again in hot water. Sow seeds into small pots, just below the surface and expect germination in 4-10 days. For other wildflowers, follow these simple steps.
1.Sow seeds into punnets filled with native seed-raising mix. Using punnets instead of direct-sowing allows you to regulate water and grow strong seedlings. We use recycled seedling punnets, as well as milk cartons, seed trays and small individual pots. After sowing, sprinkle a light layer of seed raising mix over the seeds. Seeds germinate best at temperatures between 18o and 28o C.
2.Keep the soil moist at all times, using a fine mist so that seed won’t be dislodged. Germination should take place within 1-4 weeks. Keep spraying every day with a fine mist spray.
3.Plant seedlings out once they reach 10-15 cm. Mulch generously to prevent roots drying out. Enjoy the show!
Many native wildflowers burst into life after fire when the reduced canopy allows them increased access to sunshine. Smoke is an important trigger of germination so the West Australian-based company, Wildflowers of Australia, has developed Wildflower Seed Starter granules, which contain smoke chemicals. The granules are sprinkled over the surface after sowing and when you water the smoke chemicals are released to boost germination rates.
Where to buy: Try your local nursery for seeds, or www.wildflowersofaustralia.com.au. Phone (08) 9470 6996.