5Ws+1H: How It's Done: Wildflowers can be difficult to replant
May 25—Spring has brought a wave of wildflowers to Cherokee County, but trying to deliberately grow these plants may be difficult for some.
Elephant Rock Garden Supply Co. CFO and Product Specialist Jessica Wright said planting seeds is the best option. Due to the delicate and intricate root systems a wildflower has, they often do not do well when transplanted.
At the end of the season, Wright said most wildflowers will have to be replanted.
"They're not just going to come back. They come back because of seed, whether that's the previous time there was a dandelion nearby and you hit it with the mower, and the seed went everywhere, and now the next year, you have 20 dandelions in your yard," said Wright.
Wright said she often recommends people just keep the wildflowers healthy throughout the year in various ways. By adding sand to the grass or by mulching, Wright said, this will take care of the soil and thus the roots.
"You might need to water once or twice a month during our really dry times," said Wright. "You don't want to overwater your yard because that'll get your wildflowers dependent on regular watering, so I tell people to always wait until you see them drooping. You can look at the forecast, and if there's no rain with in the next four to five days, go ahead and water your yard throughout the hottest [parts] of the summer."
To make sure the wildflowers come back, Wright said gardeners should put their lawn mowers on the tallest blade setting to knock down the seeds when the plant starts seeding. Gardeners should not rake their grass afterward, to protect the soil.
Wright said some wildflowers will not reach their maximum blooming until they have gone through three generations. An example is when mullein is in its first generation, it is shorter and wider, while the second year will cause the plant to shoot up and produce flowers.
"By just cutting down all your seed and allowing it to just sit there and frost over the winter, it helps prepare the seed and your ground for keeping up with a beautiful landscape," said Wright.
Instead of only growing one wildflower, Wright said, gardeners should plant a mixture, because each plant can benefit the other in a new way, such as how clover can cover the soil for a group of sunflowers.
A gardener trying to decide whether to keep the wildflowers in one area or to just let them grow is all about a personal preference. Wright said wildflower yards tend to be harder to keep manicured, and the maintenance is often diverse, compared to other yards. They may need to buy land timbers, hoop trellises, or even straw bales instead of regular flower pots.