A mini wildflower meadow, with native flowers such as red clover, scabious and ox-eye daisies, attracts a wide range of wildlife, from bees and other pollinating insects to small mammals and amphibians.
You can grow wildflowers from seed or from plug plants, but the easiest way to establish a wildflower meadow is to lay turf. Simply remove a few strips from your lawn and replace them with wildflower turf, which you can buy from online suppliers.
Looking to maintain your meadow? Wildflower meadows need cutting once a year, after they’ve finished setting seed. Find out how to do it in this Gardeners’ World video, as Monty Don cuts back his wildflower meadow with a scythe. He shares tips on how short to cut it and why it’s important to remove all the cut material afterwards:
More wildflower inspiration:
- 11 wildflowers for shade
- 20 British native wildflowers to grow
- Garden identifier to British wildflowers
Follow our step-by-step guide to laying wildflower turf.
You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Garden spade
- Wildflower turf
- Garden rake
- Sharp knife
Measure the area you want to transform. Use a spade to remove the grass and top layer of soil. Cut the grass into strips, using a spade, and roll them up for easy removal.
Prepare the soil with a rake, making sure it’s level, and remove big stones. Consolidate the surface by walking up and down, taking small, heavy steps. Rake again.
Lay the turf on the soil, staggering the joints like brickwork. Use a knife to cut off any excess turf, then water it well. Keep watered but do not feed.
No room for a wildflower lawn? Plant a wildflower container.
How to maintain a wildflower meadow
- Choose your location – most wildflowers thrive on poor soils, whereas grasses take over on rich soils. Lay your turf on poor soil if possible to give your wildflowers a chance
- Keep the fertility low – don’t fertilise your wildflower meadow, as this will encourage the proliferation of vigorous grasses and flowers, outcompeting more delicate species and reducing biodiversity
- Suppress grasses – one of the best ways to do this is to introduce yellow rattle, Rhinanthus minor, a parasitic plant that takes nutrients from and weakens grasses
- Mowing – don’t mow your meadow until all the flowers have gone over, giving them time to self-seed. You can aid this by shaking seedheads back over the area. Mow in autumn and remove all cuttings to keep soil fertility low
- Sowing – sow yellow rattle and new wildflower species onto the patch in autumn, if you’d like to introduce new flowering plants