Utility Links

​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Pollinator Wildflower Seed Mix Planting Instructions

 
monarchliatris.jpg
monarch (Danaus plexippus) on blazing-star (Liatris spp.)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources

 Growing Pollinator-beneficial Native Wildflowers from Seeds

Thank you for helping pollinators by growing native plants that provide them with food and shelter! The packet that you received at the Illinois State Fair in Conservation World contains approximately 50 seeds. These seeds can be planted in either fall or spring. You will find instructions for both methods below.
 
The seeds represent 25 species of native wildflowers and three species of native grasses, although you may not have received all 28 species in your packet. A list of species is shown below. The tallest plants in this seed mix can reach about five feet in height, while the shorter ones may be about one foot tall. All of these plants should receive full sunlight nearly all day in summer. These plants may not bloom for the first couple of years so don't worry if flowers don't appear in that time period. The seeds will grow in nearly any type of soil but should not be planted in soil that remains wet for long periods of time.  

 Fall Planting

​Fall is a good time to plant the seeds. They won't germinate until spring and will be ready to grow when conditions are right. You can plant the seeds from September 15 up until the soil freezes. Prepare the soil by removing existing vegetation, if present, and loosen soil with a rake. You may want to add some compost, if you have any available. In a bucket, mix the seeds with some peat moss, sawdust or sand. This “carrier” material will help you to spread the seeds evenly. Scatter the seed mixture over your prepared soil. Use your rake to gently work the seed mixture into the soil. Tamp the soil with your rake or the back of a hoe blade to firm the soil over the seeds. You may want to cover the site with about an inch of straw. The seeds will come up in spring when conditions are right for them to grow. You should be aware that some of these seeds may not germinate until the second year after you plant them, and most of them will not bloom until their second or third year of growing.
 
Weeds can be very detrimental to the growth of your plants in the first year. Do not pull weeds because doing so can uproot your native plants. In the first year, the native plants will most likely not exceed six inches in height. Anything taller than six inches is probably a weed. Cut any plants that grow taller than six inches in the first year of your native pollinator plant garden back to six inches or less. At the end of the first growing season, leave all vegetation standing. Cut it back to ground level the following spring.

 Spring Planting

The seeds can be planted in spring from March 1 until June 20. Prepare the soil by removing existing vegetation, if present, and loosen soil with a rake. You may want to add some compost, if you have any available. In a bucket, mix the seeds with some peat moss, sawdust or sand. This “carrier” material will help you to spread the seeds evenly. Scatter the seed mixture over your prepared soil. Use your rake to gently work the seed mixture into the soil. Tamp the soil with your rake or the back of a hoe blade to firm the soil over the seeds. You may want to cover the site with about an inch of straw. You should be aware that some of these seeds may not germinate until the second year after you plant them, and most of them will not bloom until their second or third year of growing. Water the planting site each week during the first month after planting, if necessary, so that the soil remains moist at a depth of one inch. If you receive sufficient rainfall during this time, you will not need to water so often. Germination may take several weeks, and some of the seeds may not germinate until the second year.
 
Weeds can be very detrimental to the growth of your plants in the first year. Do not pull weeds because doing so can uproot your native plants. In the first year, the native plants will most likely not exceed six inches in height. Anything taller than six inches is probably a weed. Cut any plants that grow taller than six inches in the first year of your native pollinator plant garden back to six inches or less. At the end of the first growing season, leave all vegetation standing. Cut it back to ground level the following spring.

 Seed Species

​The seed packets contain a variety of seeds representing the following
species. You most likely will not have received seeds for every species listed.
black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
common milkweed Asclepias syriaca
compass-plant Silphium laciniatum
​foxglove beardstongue Penstemon digitalis
golden Alexanders Zizia aurea
​gray-headed coneflower Ratibida pinnata
Illinois mimosa Desmanthus illinoensis
leadplant Amorpha canescens
little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
marsh blazing-star Liatris spicata
New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
​obedience plant Physostegia virginiana
​Ohio spiderwort Tradescantia ohiensis
​ox-eye sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides
partridge pea Chamaechrista fasciculata
prairie blazing-star Liatris pycnostachya
prairie cinquefoil Drymocallis arguta
​​prairie coreopsis Coreopsis palmata
prairie dock Silphium terebinthinaceum
prairie dropseed Sporobolus heterolepis
purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea
rattlesnake master Eryngium yuccifolium
side-oats grama Bouteloua curtipendula
​smooth aster Symphyotrichum laeve
sweet black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia subtomentosa
white prairie clover Dalea candida
wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa