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SMALL SCALE PLANTING

In Oklahoma, wildflowers should be planted in the fall. Late September throught mid November is ideal.


To Plant on Existing Grass:

  • 1a. Use a herbicide to eliminate any vegetation which may compete. (*Optional - see Note)
  • 1b. Mow the existing vegetation as short as possible. Rake the clippings and remove from site.
  • 2. Rake the area with a garden rake to loosen the soil surface. (No more than ½ inch.)
  • 3. Mix seeds thoroughly to provide equal distribution. (Small seeds tend to filter to the bottom of the mix.)
  • 4. Hand broadcast the seed on the area to be planted.
  • 5. Lightly rake over the area to establish proper seed/soil contact.

NOTE: DO NOT plant wildflowers in grasses that grow during winter (example: annual rye grass or fescue) as the winter grasses will be too aggressive to allow the wildflowers to become established.
To plant on bare soil and bark mulch areas - Follow steps 2 through 5 above.


WHEN DO SEEDS GERMINATE?

Some of the seeds will germinate 10 - 20 days after planting if sufficient moisture is available. Other seeds will germinate in the early spring. Regardless of the planting location, most wildflowers will require at least six (6) hours of sunlight per day, minimum foot traffic and water during the germination period if rainfall is not substantial.


DO I HAVE TO WATER THE SEEDS?

If there is no rainfall after planting, watering will help in germination and seedling establishment. Once your wildflowers are beyond the critical seedling stage, they will survive long, dry periods, but probably will not flower as often. Occasional watering, if possible, will insure maximum bloom color.


WILL MY WILDFLOWERS COME BACK?

Usually, the perennials will return year after year once established. If the annuals are allowed to reseed before mowing, they also will return.


HOW DO I ALLOW MY WILDFLOWERS TO RESEED?

Allow about two (2) weeks after the full bloom period has passed for the annuals to reseed. As a rule of thumb, when the dense brown foliage offsets the floral color display, the area can be trimmed. You have now enabled your wildflowers to complete their life cycle and they will reward you with an array of beauty the following year.


SHALL I FERTILIZE?

If you feel that your soil lacks nutrients, fertilizing your wildflower area at the time of planting is acceptable, as long as you use the fertilizer moderately. Fertilizing wildflowers after the plants are established will result in larger amounts of foliage at the expense of blooms. It will also make many species too tall, and they will flop over without support.


HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT DO I NEED?

In general, most wildflowers need a considerable amount of sunshine. However, many species can tolerate light to partial shade. If your area receives at least six (6) hours of sunlight per day, your wildflowers will prosper.


LARGE SCALE PLANTING

Drill Seeders

  1. Specially designed wildflower seeders installed with three seed boxes to accommodate different size seed, are used by the Department of Transportation and the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City on roadsides and parks under their jurisdiction. Spraying for weeds and mowing as short as possible may precede the planting.
  2. An agricultural or wheat drill can be used, depending on the species chosen, but is not ideal. Tiny seeds (such as poppies) have a tendency to fall out immediately, even when mixed with sand or other mediums. Fluffy seeds, such as Indian Blanket, might have a endency to jam the drill.

Garden Tractor

A second method using a garden tractor has had good results. As when using a drill, the grass should first be mowed as short as possible. After mowing, drag a railroad tie spiked with nails to roughen and loosen up the soil. DO NOT USE A ROTOTILLER (Because it tills so deep, it will release dormant weeds.) Wildflowers should be planted less than 1/4 inch deep.

Following the railroad tie sequence, seed may be sown by hand from a bucket or by using a handheld broadcast seeder, if there is not too much variation in seed sizes. Sand may be used as a medium to extend coverage. Finally, drag a piece of chain link fence, weighted with concrete blocks, over the area. This will lightly cover the seed and achieve soil seed contact, which is vitally important. Make sure the seed gets through existing vegetation to the ground. A dense stand of Bermuda with thick thatch can prevent or reduce seed germination.


SOME WILDFLOWERS FOR ROADSIDE PLANTING

Listed in approximate order of bloom sequence. Not all are suitable for all parts of Oklahoma. Not all are available commercially.

  1. Crimson Clover - Trifolium incarnatum
  2. Corn Flower - Centaura cyanus
  3. Corn Poppy - Papaver rhoeas
  4. Bluebonnet - Lupinus subcarnosus
  5. Showy Primrose - Oenothera speciosa
  6. Verbena - Verbena tenuisecta
  7. Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja indivisa
  8. Drummond Phlox - Phlox drummondii
  9. Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
  10. Rocket Larkspur - Delphinium gracilis
  11. Scarlet Flax - Linum rubrum
  12. Catch Fly - Silene armeria
  13. Dames Rocket - Hesperis matronalis
  14. Oxeye Daisy - Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
  15. Tickseed - Coreopsis lanceolata
  16. Indian Blanket - Gaillardia pulchella
  17. Blanketflower - Gaillardia aristata
  18. Standing Cypress - Ipomopsis rubra
  19. Lazy Daisy - Aphanostephus skirrobasis
  20. Prairie Sabatia - Sabatia campestre
  21. Sand Primrose - Oenothera laciniata
  22. Missouri Primrose - Oenothera missouriensis
  23. Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa
  24. Purple Coneflower - Echinacea angustifolia
  25. Beard-Tongue - Penstemon cobaea
  26. Plains Coreopsis - Coreopsis tinctoria
  27. Purple Prairie Clover ‘Kaneb’ - Petalostemum purpureum
  28. Lemon Mint - Monarda citriodora
  29. Mexican Hat - Ratibida columnaris
  30. Clasping Coneflower - Rudbeckia amplexicaulis
  31. Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia hirta
  32. Four Point Primrose - Oenothera rhombipetala
  33. Handsome Blazing Star - Liatris aspera
  34. Mealy Blue Sage - Salvia farinacea

For information concerning the ODOT’s Wildflower Program, contact the Beautification Office at:

Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation
Beautification office
200 N.E. 21st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Phone:(405)521-4037
E-mail: beauty@odot.org


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