How to Plant and Maintain a Wildflower Garden Border

It is easy to grow wildflowers along garden borders. Pick the right location, the best plants that suit your growing conditions and also which ones you think will look best in your garden.

Use the available space on your borders to ensure your wildflowers remain within the allocated area. To avoid them creeping into the area of other plants in your garden, select slow-spreading varieties.

How to plant a wildflower border.

1. Weed your border

Eradicate perennial weeds such as grasses from the garden border. This is essential to prevent competition for space and nutrients with your wildflower seedlings. Rake away the cuttings and other debris, leaving the soil bare for sowing. 

sheet mulching
sheet mulch

2. Till your border

Prepare your ground by tilling with a rototiller. Ideally, you should till to a depth of around 3-4 inches to avoid disturbing the soil too much. It would help if you had a shallow seed bed to plant your wildflowers. 

3. Choose your wildflower seeds

Choose the right plants for your wildflower border. There are species that will thrive in full sunlight, others in shade and damp areas and some in dry soils.

4. Scatter your seeds

Sprinkle your preferred wildflower seeds on the prepared ground. To ensure a full border, spread a large number of wildflower seeds. Gently mix the seedlings with the soil using a rake or by lightly compressing the ground. 

5. Water your plants

Water the seedlings regularly during the first stages of development, until they sprout out of the ground. After they germinate, water them depending on the amount of rainfall available in your area and how much water your species needs to flourish. 

Best wildflowers to plant along your garden border

1. Viper’s Bugloss (Ischium vulgare)

Viper’s Bugloss (Ischium vulgare)
Photo by Andrew

This wildflower is native to Europe and a perfect candidate for garden borders. It comes in both annual and biennial varieties. It blooms from late spring to early fall, with dense bell-shaped, violet-blue flowers.

Viper’s bugloss spreads moderately fast and reaches 18 inches wide and 30 inches tall at full maturity. It is self-seeding. The plant is drought resistant and deters deer. 

  • It thrives in full sunlight.
  • Requires well-drained, dry, alkaline or neutral soils. The soil should not be rich to prevent the growth of excess foliage which slows down the blooming of flowers. 
  • USDA hardiness zones 3-8. 

2. Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

This biennial wildflower is native to Europe. It produces pretty blue flowers which attract bees, butterflies and birds. Chicory is self-seeding. It grows to a height of 2-4ft and spreads 1ft at full maturity. It can be grown alongside Viper’s Bugloss in your wildflower border. 

  • Thrives in well-drained, moist, alkaline or neutral soils. 
  • Requires full sunlight, for around 6 hours daily. 
  • USDA hardiness zones 3-9. 

3. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata)

Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia aristata)

These perennials produce bright daisy-like flowers and attractive foliage that blooms in early summer. The blooms attract birds and butterflies. They are well suited to perennial garden borders.

They grow to a height of 2-3ft and spread 18 inches at full maturity. They are low maintenance, deer resistant and extremely drought tolerant. 

  • Thrive in full sunlight.
  • Grow well in medium, well-drained sandy soils. 
  • USDA hardiness zones 3-9. 

4. Evergreen Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

Candytuft (Iberis umbellate)
Photo by Michele Dorsey Walfred

This herbaceous perennial produces white or pink flowers that bloom in spring and early summer. These blooms attract butterflies. It is a good edging plant for garden borders and walkways.

The plant grows in bushy mounds that reach 12 inches high and spread 18 inches at full maturity. It is evergreen in areas with warm winters. It tolerates drought, deer, and rabbits. 

  • Thrives in full sunlight.
  • Grows well in well-drained, alkaline soils. 
  • USDA hardiness zones 3-9. 

5. Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera)
Photo by Tiger Lily

A North American native perennial that produces golden yellow or rust-red flowers that bloom from late spring to early fall. They attract butterflies and provide year-round interest in your garden. Mexican Hat grows to a height of 1-3ft and spreads 12-18 inches at full maturity.

It is self-seeding. It performs well along sunny borders. Low maintenance and is relatively free of pests and diseases. 

  • Thrives in full sunlight. 
  • Ideally grows in average, well-drained soils. It tolerates drought and poor soils. 
  • USDA hardiness zones 4-9. 

How to maintain a wildflower border.

A wildflower border is a relatively low maintenance. Many wildflower varieties will need minimal watering or pruning to grow well. However, you can regularly mow your wildflowers to allow new blooms to grow and keep aggressive spreaders under control. 

Mow your wildflowers in late spring or early summer to allow your border plants to grow more compact and bushier. Rake the clippings and other debris from the wildflower border. Trimming keeps your borders colorful and attractive to insects during winter. Wildflower seed heads will also sustain birds and other small animals during winter.

Pull weeds from the soil when the soil is moist. It is best to uproot weeds before they begin seeding. Do not use any chemical pesticides or herbicides on your wildflower border as it is detrimental to insects. 


Different wildflower varieties are good for garden borders. Wildflowers are versatile, so they will have many benefits wherever you grow them along the garden border. They can attract insects, pollinators and local wildlife. There are many possibilities for a wildflower border that allow you to make the most of the landscape while providing a haven for local animals. Wildflowers are low maintenance and will maintain year-round color along your borders.