How To Grow Wildflowers in Pots

You can choose to grow your wildflowers in pots if you have limited space in your garden or if you intend to keep things visually interesting. Wildflowers can add to the aesthetic of your landscape when grown in container pots strategically placed on your lawn.

wildflowers in pot on an outdoor dining table

You can place your pots on balconies, pathways, and along hedges to bring life and color to your lawn. It is best to start gardening in the spring or autumn, to give your wildflowers adequate time to flourish. 

To grow wildflowers in pots, you first have to acquire the necessary supplies. You need a pot or container, at least 4-6 inches in diameter, a bag of composted soil (peat-free compost is best) and wildflower seeds. 

Prepare the growing pot

You have to pick the right pot that allows good drainage to prevent the soil from becoming too wet. 

clay pots with holes- picking the right pot for growing wildflowers

Make little holes at the bottom, and then place a thin layer of rocks and stones. These will help with drainage. 

Mix equal amounts of soil and compost in the container. It is best that this growing medium is lightweight and porous to help flowers blossom and water drain. Wildflowers do not like compost rich in nutrients; they grow best in poor soil with few nutrients. 

Fill the container with the soil/compost mixture, to 1-2 inches from the top. 

adding soil and compost to pot to plant wildflower seeds

Plant the seeds

  • Take your wildflower seeds and mix them with a bit of compost. 
  • Spread them lightly over the surface of your container. 
  • Add a small dusting of compost to any exposed seeds.
  • Ensure that the seeds are buried between a quarter and an eighth of an inch deep in the soil mixture. If you bury them too deep, they will not germinate and sprout from the soil. 
  • Press down the soil lightly to ensure it is firm and to get the compost to interact with the wildflower seeds. 

Water and let them grow 

Water the pots well, taking care not to disrupt or expose the seeds. 

Place the pot in a sunny spot and leave it to grow. Wildflower seeds need at least six hours of direct sunlight to germinate properly. If you live in a very hot area, plant your wildflowers under partial shade, with less than six hours of direct sunlight exposure. 

It is best to water regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. This should be done until the seedlings get to a height of around 4-6 inches. 

You will need to occasionally tend to the wildflowers in the containers by pulling out small weeds and other unnecessary plants. If you are unsure which sprouts to pull out, wait until it flowers. 

Once flowering begins, cut back the plant growth regularly to ensure your wildflowers do not spill out from your growing containers.

You should watch out for invasive weeds which might crowd out your wildflowers and remove them on a regular basis. Some weeds such as dandelions are beneficial to pollinators and bees so you can choose to leave them alongside your wildflower. 

Learn how to plant wildflowers in your garden or farm without tilling.

Best wildflowers for pots

It is best to choose a mixture of annual and perennial wildflowers to ensure your garden is full of color all year round. Many will even bring birds to your garden!

The following wildflowers can grow well in pots in your garden:

Blue Vervain/ Verbena hastate

Blue Vervain/ Verbena hastate
photo credit

This native wildflower has long spikes of purplish-blue flowers which bloom from midsummer to early fall. 

They spread to around 12-30 inches and reach a height of 6ft at full maturity. They are therefore ideal to plant in a small space in a pot. 

  • Requires full sun or partial shade.
  • Grows well in moist, well-drained soil. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8. 

7 Best Trees To Bring Birds to Your Garden!

Cardinal Flower/ Lobelia cardinalis

This plant attracts hummingbirds. It is native to North America and produces red and white flowers, which bloom in late summer. 

Find out other potted plants that will attract birds to your garden.

Cardinal Flower/ Lobelia cardinalis
photo credit

It reaches a height of 2-3ft at full maturity. 

Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 

Grows well in well-drained soils. It is not drought tolerant. 

Ideal for hardiness zones 3-9. 

Black eyed Susan/ Rudbeckia hirta

This wildflower serves as a host for the larvae of different butterfly species. It is native to North America, and produces gold flowers with an orange center. The flowers bloom from summer until first frost. It is popular with pollinators. 

  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • It is highly drought tolerant. 
  • Grows well in moist, well-drained soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-7. 

Chicory/ Cichorium intybus

Chicory/ Cichorium intybus
Photo credit

The plant produces blue or pink flowers which are popular among pollinators and bees. 

  • Requires exposure to full sunlight.
  • Grows best in well-drained, alkaline soils.
  • Highly drought tolerant.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8. 

New-England Aster/ Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

This native wildflower is a good choice to grow in a container in your garden. It has stout stems, dense foliage and lavender flowers with an orange center that bloom from late summer. It attracts pollinators. It also serves as a larval host for pearl crescent butterflies. 

  • The plant grows from 3-6ft tall and 2-3ft wide at full maturity.
  • Requires full sunlight.
  • Grows well in well-drained, moist soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8. 

Purple coneflower/ Echnicacea purpurea

This native perennial produces purplish-pink flowers with orange centers. They bloom during spring. They will attract pollinators to your garden. Its dried seed heads are a good source of food for some birds. However, it is highly deer resistant. 

  • Reaches a height of 2-5ft tall and spreads 18-24 inches at full maturity.
  • Requires full sun or partial shade.
  • Grows well in well-drained clay soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8.


Can wildflower seeds grow in pots?

Wildflowers can grow in any pot that can hold soil. You should select containers with small holes at the bottom, or make them yourself to allow water to drain and keep the soil moist. 

Choose a clean and dry container with dimensions that will not limit the spread of your wildflowers. Once you have acquired a good soil and compost mixture, you can plant your wildflower seeds in the pot and leave them to grow.

As long as you retain the right growing conditions in the container, your seeds should sprout normally. You can place a light layer of mulch over the seed and soil mixture to help with moisture retention. 

How long does it take for wildflowers to sprout?

Wildflowers will typically sprout a couple of weeks after planting. This however depends on the time of year you planted your seeds. It can take from 40-60 days from sprouting to blooming, but only if you planted in the growing season. Blossoms appear during spring.

Annual wildflowers will begin flowering from April. Perennials will take a bit longer to bloom, sometimes taking up to two years for the first flowers to appear. 

Final Word

Growing wildflowers in pots can help improve the variety of vegetation in your garden and add an interesting visual element to your landscape. Containers can also help you utilize the limited space in your garden.

Find the right containers to grow your wildflowers in, find the right mixture of soil and compost and plant your wildflower seeds. They should be porous to allow drainage and maintain moisture in the soil.  Essentially, you should plant your wildflowers during the growing season to ensure that they will blossom in time.

Not all wildflowers can grow in pots; it is best to find the varieties that do not spread too much or grow too tall. The right wildflower in a container, if regularly maintained, will attract wildlife to your garden, and allow you to adequately utilize the small space in your home garden.