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08.06.2023

Planting Guide for our Wildflower Seed Mixes

Wildflowers in the UK

As you can see, we have been hard at work planting seeds in the My Square Metre wildflower meadow!

Planting wildflower seeds in the My Square Metre meadow with HSBC

We use blends of native wildflowers and grasses to best suit the conditions and light levels of our meadow. Here is a handy planting guide that you can use to create your own wildflower patch at home.

Also, soon you will be able to buy your own wildflower seed mixes from this website – follow our socials to find out when they are available.

Yellow Rattle

This is an annual flowering plant that has small yellow tube-shaped flowers that bloom in June, and brown seed pods. When the plant is going to seed in late summer or early autumn, they make a distinctive rattling sound, hence the name. 

Yellow Rattle is a semi-parasitic plant that leaches nutrients from nearby grassroots – so why do we plant it? It helps suppress vigorous grass growth, improving the diversity of a wildflower meadow. It has the nickname ‘meadow maker’ for its ability to weaken the grass and make room for native wildflowers to grow. Yellow rattle also provides food for rare moth larvae as well as being a bountiful source of nectar for other pollinators.

Yellow Rattle helps to improve the diversity of wildflower meadows and weakens aggressive grasses.

How to plant Yellow Rattle

You can sow Yellow Rattle seeds in the autumn, as it needs to experience the cold winter temps to ensure germination in spring. If you want to plant it earlier, you can buy already established plant plugs and plant those in spring. You need about 5 grams of Yellow Rattle seeds for every square metre. We mix our seeds with sand to help evenly distribute them while sowing.

You should mow the grass down to at least 25 mm and rake it to expose the earth before planting Yellow Rattle seeds to make sure the seeds touch the soil, or you can harrow or till the earth for maximum germination.

If you have already established Yellow Rattle, you probably won’t need to plant it again. The seeds self-set in autumn, ready for spring. If you find that you have too much Yellow Rattle, you can always cut it in June before it gets a chance to drop seeds.

60:40 Wildflower and Grass Mix

Cornflower and poppies growing in a wildflower meadow

This is a blend of 60% wildflower seeds and 40% grasses. Why so much grass seed? The grasses we use help to support the wildflowers as they grow. They prevent invasive weeds from creeping in and taking valuable nutrients and space from the wildflowers. Grasses provide food and shelter to wildlife too. The grasses we choose are fine meadow grasses like Sheep’s Fescue and Sweet Vernal Grass, which are not as competitive as other types of grass and grow happily alongside wildflowers.

The 60:40 wildflower and grass mix contains Common Knapweed, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Corn Poppy, Corncockle, Cornflower, Doves Foot Cranesbill, Foxglove, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Meadow Buttercup, Oxeye Daisy, Red Campion, Ribwort Plantain, Salad Burnet, Selfheal, White Campion, Crested Dogstail, Sheeps Fescue, Slender Creeping Red Fescue, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Oat Grass, Smaller Cats-Tail, and Tufted Hair Grass.

Long Season Meadow Mix

Buttercup, a native English wildflower.

This is a great blend that includes native perennials like Bugloss, Lady’s Bedstraw, and Scabious, plus lots more. They will attract pollinators to your garden and really help boost the biodiversity of the area. They also attract birds who feast on the seeds. This blend is ‘long season’ because it can keep on flowering all the way from May until October, giving you a vibrant wildflower patch for months.

The full ingredients of this mix are Yarrow, Lesser Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Wild Carrot, Vipers Bugloss, Meadow Cranesbill, Common Catsear, Field Scabious, Meadow Vetchling, Rough Hawkbit, Oxeye Daisy, Common Toadflax, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Musk Mallow, Cowslip, Self Heal, Meadow Buttercup, Bulbous Buttercup, Common Sorrel, Yellow Rattle, Small Scabious, Wild Red Clover, Red Campion, Betony, Devilsbit Scabious, Dark Mullein, and Tufted Vetch.

Shady Area Wildflower Mix

Wild Foxglove, a native UK wildflower.

This blend of wildflowers is perfect for areas that don’t get much sunlight. Shady gardens surrounded by trees or hedges need a blend like this, as not all wildflowers will thrive in lower-light areas. The shady wildflower mix features foxglove, selfheal, meadowsweet and yarrow, all of which thrive in shaded areas. Planting a blend like this in shaded areas and another mix where there is more sunlight boosts the biodiversity of your garden.

The full ingredients of this mix are Yarrow, Common Agrimony, Garlic Mustard, Common Knapweed, Wild Foxglove, Meadowsweet, Hedge Bedstraw, Wood Avens, Common St. John’s Wort, Field Scabious, Meadow Vetchling, Autumn Hawkbit, Oxeye Daisy, Musk Mallow, Common Mallow, Selfheal, White Campion, Red Campion, Bladder Campion, Hedge Woundwort, Upright Hedge Parsley, Dark Mullein, Tufted Vetch, and Wood Vetch.

Annual Wildflower Mix

Corn Chamomile, a native UK wildflower  that enjoys shade.

This is a blend of annual wildflower seeds that you can mix in with other perennial seeds, or use to add a pop of colour while perennial wildflowers get established. This is one of the easiest wildflower blends to grow, and if you have very fertile soil, they thrive in it, which most wildflowers do not.

This mix contains Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Corncockle, Corn Poppy and Corn Chamomile. They flower from June to September and provide food for bees and other pollinator friends. While they are not perennial, you can collect the seeds for planting again next year. 

How to plant your wildflower mix

All of these mixes are sowed in the same way, apart from the lawn mix which we will talk about later on. You can plant wildflowers in the spring in March-April, or in autumn in September-October. Autumn-planted seeds will germinate quickly, although you may not see flowers until the following spring. The method is the same regardless of the season you plant them in. Just don’t leave it too late for your spring planting, as the seeds need enough time to germinate properly.

You should prepare the area for planting by removing any aggressive plants like nettle, thistles or dock leaves. These are all beneficial in their own way for the environment, but they can outcompete wildflowers for soil nutrients, so we do want to remove them. Avoid using herbicides or weedkillers, instead, dig them out by the root. Watch out for them returning and pull them out if you see any regrowth. 

Using a rotavator to till the soil ready for wildflower planting.

Grass should be mown very short and then the earth tilled or harrowed to expose the soil. You can sow wildflower seeds onto very short grass, but you will get better results with at least 50% exposed soil.

Don’t be tempted to add any compost or fertiliser to the soil – wildflowers grow best in low-nutrient soil. Plant the seeds at 5 grams per square metre – mix them with some sand for easy, even distribution. Water well, and keep up with the watering during dry spells while the plants are small. 

You can also plant this wildflower mix in tubs, beds, window boxes and baskets – just sow them like ordinary seeds and water them generously. You will need to water wildflowers a little more if they are grown in a container – if the soil feels dry, give them a drink.

Lawn Mix

This mix is great for using when you want to add a bit more diversity to your lawn. The wildflowers in this blend tolerate being mown very well and don’t grow too tall, so you can still have a usable lawn. Our lawn mix includes bee-friendly Buttercup, Yarrow, Lady’s Bedstraw, Common Catsear, Rough Hawkbit, Oxeye Daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Cowslip, Selfheal, Common Sorrel, Birdsfoot Trefoil, and Kidney Vetch.

Ribwort Plantain, a common wildflower that can be grown in lawns.

How to plant the lawn mix

You can plant the lawn mix right on top of an existing patch of grass – just mow it very short first, Then, use a rake or scarifier tool to remove thatch or undergrowth so the seeds can reach the earth underneath. Sprinkle the seeds on top and make sure they make contact with the soil. You can do this by using a roller, or just walking around on the lawn until they are all pressed in, Then you can look forward to a wildflower-filled lawn!

Making sure your wildflower seeds are viable

We make sure our wildflower seeds are sealed sufficiently and stored properly so that we get maximum growth when we plant them. Like all natural things, there will be some varying levels of success, and not every seed is viable, but making sure they are currently sealed will yield maximum results. If you have some wildflower seeds from us in a little glass jar, make sure the top stays on firmly until it’s time to plant. them. Opening the jar or having a less than complete seal can let dampness into the kar and cause some of the seeds to start germinating before they are planted, and we don’t want this! See the pics below.

Sealed jar of wildflower seeds
This jar is perfectly sealed, meaning that the seeds inside should be at maximum viability.
A jar of wildflower seeds with a compromised seal
This jar has been tampered with, meaning that some of the seeds might not grow!

The My Square Metre wildflower seed blends will be available to buy very soon – keep an eye on our social media channels to find out when you can buy them on our website.

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