Wildflowers are self-perpetuating meaning they will spread and reseed themselves. Most wildflower species reseed each year, and you only have to water and weed to ensure optimum growing conditions. Their seeds could be spread by wind or animals and grow further from the mother plant.
Native wildflowers, natural to their surroundings, will germinate when the growing conditions in the fall or winter are favorable. Some wildflower species reseed and spread more prolifically than others, so you might have an uneven wildflower garden after a few years. Have you observed your wildflowers falling over?
Slow-growing varieties vs fast-growing wildflowers
The aggressive growing variants will dominate your garden, and you will have to manually reseed some of the slow-growing species. Further, some self-seeding species will dominate in specific niches that favor their ideal growing conditions.
Here’s a list I compiled of fast and slow-growing wildflowers.
Therefore, even though your wildflowers are self-perpetuating, you will need to intervene to ensure they grow properly, are well distributed in your garden and do not outcompete each other.
Annuals produce seeds that drop at the end of each season, but they do not reliably reseed in most areas. You have to manually reseed annuals each growing season. Perennials will take longer to establish but they are self-seeding in ideal growing conditions.
How fast do wildflowers spread?
Wildflowers will begin spreading to other areas after the first bloom. When grown under the right conditions, the wildflowers will begin spreading during the summer.
The speed of spreading will depend on the species you plant, the growing circumstances, and the density of plants in your garden. Find a list of fast and slow-growing wildflowers here.
Will wildflowers come back every year?
Perennial wildflowers will come back each year. They will take longer to bloom, but once they are established, you can expect them to produce annually. Annuals, on the other hand, bloom faster but will have to be replaced at the end of the growing season.
They go into seed heads during the autumn and drop seeds into the soil. They need reseeding if you want to see them in your garden for the following season.
If you want to maintain the colorful display in your garden, you will have to replant the annual varieties each year. Biennials will complete their life cycle after two years. They develop leaves, stems and root systems in the first year, then flower and die in the second year.
Most wildflower species are reseeding and will appear in your garden in subsequent seasons without replanting. You however have to ensure that the species you plant does not choke out the slow-growing varieties. Identify the fast growers and slow growers and cut them back regularly to ensure all wildflowers thrive in your garden.