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Growing california wildflowers


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This brochure is one of the educational resources provided by Mother Nature’s Backyard – see

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Growing california wildflowers

  1. 1. How to Grow Native WildflowersFollow these steps to grow California native wildflowers:  Plant seeds either in the ground or in containers.  Purchase seed from reputable dealers (see below).  Prepare the soil before planting by gently raking it. You may also want to spread a 1 inch layer of gravel over Growing California Wildflowers soil (prevents birds from eating the seeds).  Plant seeds just before a good rain. You can mix the seeds with dry sand to help spread them evenly. One Some of the loveliest wildflowers in the world come teaspoon of seeds covers about 4-6 square feet. from California. In the 1800’s, our local wildflowers became  Gently rake in the seeds – don’t bury them (no mulch) an overnight sensation in Europe because of their unique  Watch for seedlings to emerge – usually within 2-3 charm and beauty. To add a special touch to your own weeks. Water the soil if it starts to dry out. garden, consider planting some California native wildflowers.  Keep the soil moist until plants have finished flowering. Then taper off watering, letting the seeds mature/dry. Most native wildflowers are annuals - plants that  Collect dry seeds, dry in paper bags and store in a cool complete their life cycle in a single growing season. Local dry place for next year – or let plants re-seed naturally. annuals are uniquely suited to our mediterranean climate. Most sprout with the winter rains, bloom in spring or early summer, then produce seeds and die by the time summer’sWhere to Purchase Native Wildflower Seeds (key to sources) heat descends. A few well-known native wildflowers, like the California Poppy, are really perennials. They die back to 1. Project SOUND Gardening – local native seeds and a sturdy root in summer and re-emerge the following spring, seed mixes. E-mail us for availability at: allowing them to survive our long, dry summer-fall. 2. Theodore Payne Foundation (can order seeds on-line): Most annual wildflowers produce abundant seeds, allowing them to reproduce in our challenging climate. The seeds are good food. Some are still collected, parched and 3. Larner Seeds (order on-line) at: eaten by Native Californians. They impart their unique flavors to any dish to which they are added. Birds also relish the nutritious seeds, so wildflowers attract seed-eating birds. Learn more about life-friendly gardening at: You can e-mail your wildflower Annual wildflowers can be easily and inexpensivelyquestions to: grown from seed. They need to be planted in fall/winter, watered (if needed) until they flower and then allowed to dry out and produce seeds. It’s important to plant California native wildflowers; packets of generic ‘wildflower seeds’ from many nurseries contain non-native plants that don’t do well here. See the following pages for more suggestions.
  2. 2. Easy to Grow California Wildflowers for Home Gardens Purchase Seed Common Name Scientific Name Size Flower Color Blooms Light* Water Zone** at (key next pg) California/Mustard Primrose Camissonia californica 1-3 ft Yellow Spr FS 1 1, 2 Purple Clarkia Clarkia purpurea 2-3 ft Lavender Spr-Su FS/PS 1-2 1, 2 Elegant Clarkia Clarkia unguiculata 2-5 ft Pink-purple Spr-Su FS/PS 1 to 2-3 1, 2, 3 Chinese Houses Collinsia heterophylla 1-2 ft Purple-white Spr-Su PS/FSH 1-2 1, 2, 3 Eschscholzia californica Coastal CA Poppy < 1 ft Yellow/Or Spr-Fall FS/PS 1 to 2 1, 2, 3 ssp. californica Globe Gilia Gilia capitata 1-2+ ft Purple-blue Spr FS 1 to 1-2 1, 2, 3 Bird’s Eye Gilia Gilia tricolor 1-2 ft Yellow/Blue Spr FS/PS 1 to 1-2 1, 2, 3 Rosilla; Sneezeweed Helenium puberulum 1-5 ft Yellow-brown Su FS 2-3 to 3 1, 2 Common (Annual) Sunflower Helianthus annuus 5-8 ft Yellow Su-Fall FS 1-2 1, 2 California Goldfields Lasthenia californica < 1 ft Yellow Spr FS/PS 1 to 1-2 2 Coastal Tidy-Tips Layia platyglossa 1-2 ft Yellow/white Spr FS 1 to 2-3 1, 2, 3 Miniature Lupine Lupinus bicolor < 1 ft Blue/white Spr FS/PS 1- 2-3 1, 2, 3 Arroyo (Succulent) Lupine Lupinus succulentus 1-3 ft Blue-purple Spr FS/PS 1 to 1-2 1, 2, 3 Seep Monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus 1-5 ft Yellow W-Spr FS 2-3 to 3 1, 2, 3 Five-Spot * Nemophila maculata 1 ft Purple-white Spr FS/PS 2-3 to 3 1, 2, 3 Baby Blue-eyes Nemophila menziesii 1-2 ft Blue Spr-Su PS/FSH 2-3 1, 2, 3 Purple fiddleneck Phacelia tanacetifolia 1-3 ft Purple Spr-Su FS/PS 2-3 to 3 1, 2, 3*Light: FS=full sun; PS=part shade; FSH=full shade** Water Zones: 1 = no summer water; 1-2 = very occasional summer water (several times per summer); 2 = let soil dry out between waterings; 2-3 some regular summer water (about once a week); 3 = regular watering/moist soil (like a conventional lawn)