If you have a bare patch in your yard that needs some color and life — and bees and butterflies to boot — you may want to consider planting a wildflower garden. Wildflowers come in a range of colors and sizes, and add textural and visual appeal to any green space.
For those who don’t consider themselves to be expert gardeners, wildflowers can be a low-maintenance alternative to other flower varieties. However, while they are easier to care for than other flowers, they do require some legwork to get up and running.
Before you start your new garden, here’s what you need to know about wildflowers and how to plant and care for them.
What Are Wildflowers?
As the name suggests, wildflowers are flowers that can be found naturally in the wild. Unlike commercial flowers, wildflowers have not been cultivated or bred to have certain characteristics. In fact, all commercial flower varieties originate from wildflowers, and only after years of breeding and genetic manipulation have become what we cultivate in home gardens today.
Wildflowers can be found in woodlands, prairies and wetlands, and some states have even designated special refuges and reserves where you can observe them. They tend to be native species, ideally suited for the ecosystems where they live, and have been around as long as 100 million years, according to some fossil records.
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In the U.S., the best time to see wildflowers can vary widely from state to state. In climates that are warmer year-round, you may find them blooming all year. In those that have cooler winters, wildflowers will typically surface in the springtime — and even then bloom time may still vary depending on the variety.
Because by definition wildflowers