Today: Jul 05 , 2020

January is the Best Month to Plant Wildflowers

16 January 2020  

This is the ideal month to start a new wildflower garden in 2020.

When to plant wildflower seeds. Do wildflowers grow back every year? Do wildflowers that need full sun. What is the best time to plant wildflower seeds? How to plant a wildflower garden. Do deer eat wildflowers?

On the Go Answer – Readers Digest-type Condensed Version of this Article
Wildflowers are best planted in winter
Most flowers prefer at least 6 six hours of sun per day
Hydromulch – blend wildflower seed in Watters Premium Mulch and spread
Keep seedbed moist
Plant only perennial wildflower seed to come back in spring
Watters Garden Center mixes their own Arizona wildflower blends

This is the ideal month to start a new wildflower garden in 2020.

Few plants in the garden deliver a more natural appearance than wildflowers. Although true success with wildflowers is dependent upon timing, adhere to these simple tips, tricks, and techniques, and you can paint a swathe of color across your springtime landscape.

A pure wildflower seed needs the freeze-thaw cycle of late winter and early spring to germinate properly. This is especially true for the most popular varieties like the poppy. Cold weather cracks open a wildflower seed’s hull, so it can make its way into the soil. That’s why sowing the seed now through March is the ideal planting window.

Proper seed to soil contact is essential to achieve an unbeaten stand of wildflowers. There are wildflower seeds that are seemingly weightless. Designed to float they can be light as feathers, and, therefore, a challenge to get down into the soil. Casually scattering these seeds on unprepared soil will bring disappointing results. A bit of work and patience is essential to a successful show of spring blooms.

Four simple steps make the difference between wildflower success and failure. Here are the specific planting techniques that guarantee a breathtaking crop of wildflowers:

Step 1: Select and prepare the planting area. Most wildflowers need a considerable amount of sunshine so choose an area that receives at least six hours of light daily.
Planting in weed-free soil assures optimal results so pull out any growth you don’t want growing with your wildflowers. Then rake the seedbed to loosen the top 1”- 2" inches of soil. I find that better growth occurs when 'All Purpose Plant Food' 7-4-4 is mixed into the topsoil. The food releases slowly providing the specific nutrient support needed during the germination period and throughout the growing season.

Step 2: Create your own hydro mulch. Often seeds in a mix are so small you can barely tell if you have spread them evenly across the soil. So, to avoid this drawback buy a bag of Watters Premium Mulch, pour it into a wheelbarrow and mix in the seed. Spread this seed-mulch blend over the prepared seedbed. This simple trick helps you see precisely where the seed is placed, ensures good seed-to-soil contact, insulates the seed, and camouflages it from hungry birds.

Step 3: Keep the seedbed moist. If sufficient moisture is present, some seeds can germinate by the end of February. Regardless of planting location, your wildflowers will require supplemental water if it does not rain enough to keep the seedbed moist. Even good snow will maximize germination.

Wildflower Caution! Quality is difficult to spot in wildflower seeds and presents a problem because many shortcuts are taken in the industry. To keep down cost, many blends of wildflower seeds are composed of filler and cheap annual seed. You want high-quality seeds that will come back year after year, spreading their blooming joy to other parts of the landscape.

Although I've designed numerous local mixes specifically for our region, here I’m only mentioning some of my pet choices. My favorite easy-to-grow blend is my 'Arizona Wildflower Blend.' This low water, high show mix is easy to grow. It contains seeds for Indian paintbrush, California poppy, penstemon, columbine, and Arizona lupine to name a few.

The most popular blend is my 'Parade of Poppies.' Far more than the common California poppy, this mix is comprised of seven different poppy flowers. Its different blooms deliver a truly spectacular show.

For zero care landscapes, commercial, and investment properties I suggest the 'Drought Tolerant Mix.' For planting next to the forest and the presence of deer, try my 'Deer Resistant Wildflower Mixture.' To bring bees back into a garden to help pollinate fruit trees and vegetables go with Watters 'Pollinator Wildflower Mix'.

The next time you visit the garden center ask for my free handout 'Growing Better Wildflowers.' It offers detailed information for growing those always- beloved natural looking colorful spring flowers.

2020 Free Gardening Classes Announcement

January classes and instructors are finalized, and the rest of the Spring schedule is almost completed. Here are the topics for the first classes of 2020.


Until next week, I'll be helping local gardeners with garden soil here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or .

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Watters Garden Center 2020 Spring Garden Classes

Each Saturday @ 9:30am, Watters hosts a FREE garden class, open to the public!

January 18 @ 9:30 am: Top Landscape Designs with Flare

Design flare is all it takes with the right plants. We'll cover the right local designs, right plants, and the right place for an easy to care for landscape. Bring a pencil and paper for lots of notes and pictures of your landscape project for local design advice.

January 25 @ 9:30 am: Why January is the Month to Plant Wildflowers

January is the ideal window to start wild seed outdoors, but you can't just chuck them in the landscape and expect success. We share Watters unique mountain blends that ensure these bloomers blossom beautifully.

February 1 @ 9:30, Winter Soil Preparation for Growing Success

What we do to prepare our garden in winter, means a healthier garden in Spring! When properly prepared and cared for, soil can be improved each year and will continue to grow plants forever. Students will learn great practices to get our mountain soil prepped for planting, such as soil amendments, adding nutrients, fertilizer, and more, and what is best to use in each soil type.

February 8 @ 9:30, Mountain Fruit Trees and the Heavy Harvest

Learn the insider’s tips from the pros who know varieties, planting techniques, food, and more. We cover local success stories and best practices for healthy, happy fruit trees that produce your best harvest ever! Arborists from Jonny’s Tree & Landscaping will be on hand to explain when and how to prune your trees to stimulate stronger, more vigorous growth with more fruit this spring.

February 15 @ 9:30, Gardening for Newcomers

New to Arizona or just new to gardening? This class is Gardening 101 for everyone hoping to turn a brown thumb green. Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success: from soil preparation and planting, to watering and fertilizing. This is an information-packed class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this spring. You’ll know exactly what to do this year to make your garden the envy of the neighborhood!

February 22, @ 9:30, Evergreens that Bloom Early

Evergreens aren’t just pine trees–there are plants that keep their leaves and stay green year-round, and they bloom, too! We’ll cover the latest and greatest evergreens that not only anchor the landscape with winter foliage, but ones that provide, flowers, berries, and even fall color. Combine them with seasonal bloomers, and you have constant color!

February 29, @ 9:30, Spring To-Do List for Better Gardens

Finally, a To-Do list you’ll actually enjoy! We’re all ready for warmer weather, and so are our gardens. This class discusses all the garden “P’s”: Preparation, Prevention, Protection, and Pruning. Warmer weather awakens not just our dormant plants, but the insects, weeds, and fungus that have been lurking since the first frost. Our garden experts will explain the tools you need for healthier, more abundant blooms, and how to stop garden pests before they take root in your personal oasis.

Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at