Why should you plant wildflowers in autumn?
Written by Linda Allardyce
Many people pack away their gardening gloves in the cooler months but we’re here to bust the myths. Autumn is the perfect time to plant your wildflowers for many reasons! From following the natural cycle of flourishing plants to helping the climate and preparing for spring – discover all of the reasons why autumn is prime time for gardeners.
Can I sow wildflower seeds in autumn?
Absolutely! It could be argued that planting wildflower seeds in autumn is better because it follows nature’s natural lead. Most wildflowers release their seeds in later summer and autumn so we should take our inspiration from their natural rhythm.
The summer months tend to be drier – just think how little rain we’ve had the past couple of months. In the autumn and winter periods, there’s usually more moisture in the air for the seeds to absorb. Plus, the soil is warm from soaking up the summer sun so the seeds will germinate quickly – in only a couple of months! The roots will be busy doing their thing under the soil so they’ll be fully established come spring – especially as the winter frost kickstarts their germination.
These are perfect growing conditions for your wildflower seeds!
Additionally, the cooler months should bring more rain which means you won’t need to water your garden so often. With water and energy prices rising, this is great news for your wallet. Considering the unpredictable weather we’ve been having recently, autumn is a great time to invest in a water butt. Rather than relying on your main water supply, a water butt saves all of the rainwater so you can use it at a later date.
There is also a lower risk of the birds eating and damaging wildflower seeds due to migration and because there is a wider range of food sources available. Birds are the main culprits of seedboms failing to grow so planting seeds in autumn instead maximises their chances of thriving. There are fewer pests in general for your seeds to battle, as slugs and snails try to avoid the cold and bury themselves underground or in their shell.
Planting wildflower seeds in autumn gets you ahead of the game for next year as they will start to appear in early spring. This is the perfect time as wildlife will begin to come out of hibernation and look for food sources and shelter. It will also be a beautiful sight to look forward to straight after the bare winter months.
How to save the bees in autumn
Bees are vital for a healthy and thriving planet but hey’re currently in decline. That’s why your garden and planting for bees is so important!
During the autumn months, bumblebee colonies produce males and new queens which need to eat. Bees also stockpile nectar and pollen to prepare for the winter months. They also need lots of beautiful flowers in spring when they come out of hibernation. Planting wildflowers in autumn ensures that there will be a bountiful supply of nectar and pollen waiting for bees in spring.
Make sure you choose flowers that will attract a wide diversity of pollinators, wildlife and insects. Mr Fothergills Woodland Mixture Seeds and Wildlife Attracting Garden Varieties Mixed Seeds are quick and easy to grow, bringing an array of colour and wildlife to your garden.
For beginner gardeners, busy gardeners or low-maintenance gardeners Seedboms are a great alternative to planting seeds. The Foragebom Seedbom and Butterfly Seedbom contain a mix of seeds and all you have to do is shake it, soak it, throw it in your garden and wait for it to grow! Are any autumn birthdays coming up? Check out the Pollinator Power Seedbom Gift Set.
Bees need shelter when they hibernate or need rest and providing bee hotels and log piles in your garden can be a big help.
Made up of little tunnels, bee hotels provide bees with a space to rest, nest and lay their eggs. You can buy a bee hotel or, they’re a fun and easy activity to do as a family! Pretty much everything you need can be found in your garden including bamboo canes, twigs, leaves, wood, plant pots or any foliage. Simply fill a wooden box full of the things you find and name your hotel.
To ensure the bees have shelter away from the rain, simply gather some logs from your garden or when you take a walk, to build a pile in your garden. Loosely fill the gaps with twigs, moss and leaves so bees can rest in the warmth.
Another great tip is to leave some patches of your grass long to provide shelter for local wildlife. Mice often make homes in the tall grass and bees love using old mouse holes for shelter.