Wildflower Management: How to Find a Suitable Site

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There are a few important things to consider before choosing a spot for your wildflowers:

Aspect 

  • Cornfield annuals will flower most abundantly in a position of full sun, which means that you will need a spot that receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. 
  • If possible, choose a site that is not too buffeted by the wind; pollinating insects will linger longer around plants in calmer weather.

Soil 

  • Unlike a perennial wildflower meadow, which requires a poor soil to thrive, annual cornflower seed mixes grow quite happily in richer soils. This means that you can plant successfully in most areas – sandy, chalky, loam or clay. 
  • On poor soils, especially sandy ones, it is a good idea to incorporate a small amount of well-rotted organic matter, such as composted green waste, and a light dressing of a well-balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore, applied at 30g per sq m.

Wildlife – flora and fauna 

  • Annuals suggested here are not considered to pose a risk to natural habitat; however it is important that seeds are not scattered randomly in the countryside but planted only in managed environments. 
  • Make sure you only plant on land that belongs to you or where you have been given permission by the landowner to plant the seeds. Do not sow seeds in protected areas (e.g. nature reserves; SSSIs) or on Local Wildlife Sites. 
  • Should you be unsure of an area’s suitability for sowing wildflower seeds, please contact your local Wildlife Trust for advice (see useful contacts).
  • To be of maximum benefit to wildlife, we recommend that you sow your wildflower seeds in one area, rather than spread out across several sites. This will provide greater impact and ensure that the maximum number of pollinating insects locate the flowers.

Aesthetics 

  • Many annuals will flower within 3 months of sowing and by September the display will start to look brown. If the area is not too visually critical, wildlife will benefit from leaving dead plants in the ground until spring, when they can be removed and the area re-sown. However if your bed is in a prime location, clear away dead stems in autumn and replace these with winter bedding and spring bulbs to extend the period of interest.