It's a great time of year to sow wildflower seeds into your landscape. If you are looking for a seed source, contact the Florida Wildflower Foundation, or you may be able to find seed locally through your Native Plant Society. There are so many wonderful native wildflowers that you can grow in Central Florida. Gaillardia, Salvia, Coreopsis, Rosinweed, Beach Sunflower, Liatris and Aster may be found in some of the native wildflower seed mixes.
The first thing you need to do is determine where you would like your wildflowers. Are you going to add them to an existing pollinator or butterfly garden or start a new one? Are you creating a no-mow area in your yard? Do you have a natural area that you would like to plant with flowers? The area you choose should be in the full sun and have well drained soil.
When you are ready to plant, get a mix of compost and vermiculite ready and lightly till your site. You want to make sure the site isn't hard-packed. Mix your seeds with the soil mix and spread the soil evenly over the surface to be planted. The mix should only be an inch or two deep. When you have spread the mix, gently tamp the soil down. You can walk over it to do this. Then, lightly water in the seeds. Keep the soil moist throughout the germination process.
Some seeds will take longer to germinate than others. If you have used a seed mix, you may see some seeds coming up right away,while others may take a few months. Do not fertilize or mulch the site while you wait for your new flowers to emerge.
Once you have a nice stand of wildflowers, you can begin management. You may want to collect seed to use in other areas of your yard, or you may want to follow a mowing program to keep the area properly managed as a wildflower planting. The flowers will die back to the ground in the winter months, so be prepared to cut them back at least once a year.
Native wildflowers make a lovely, colorful addition to the landscape. The flowers provide habitat and food for native insects and birds. You can cut the flowers for bouquets or arrangements. They are a great way to add a splash of color to your landscape without a lot of upkeep.
Consider adding wildflowers to your landscape. If you need more information, contact us at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.