Choosing The Right Mix
Finally, you are getting close to planting! But, first make sure you choose the right pollinator/ wildflower mix for your site and purpose!
1) Determine what is the purpose of your wildflower planting.
Is there a particular flower you love and want to see? Are you wanting to attract song birds? Is there a certain pollinator you want to attract? If you want to attract a certain pollinator, make sure you have plants for all stages of growth for that pollinator. For example, monarchs, you will need milkweed for the caterpillars and flowering plants that attract and feed the Monarch butterflies. If you are looking for honeybees or native bees, make sure there are flowers that they are attracted to and provide food source from spring through fall.
2) Next consideration may be cost.
The cost of wildflower mixes can be quit expensive. So, make sure you know what you are looking for in a mix before you begin shopping. One recommendation to reduce cost is to add grass seed to the mix. This is a "filler" but can help provide a correct seeding rate when seeding the wildflower mix. It provides good stabilization for the site when the wildflowers are not growing like late fall, winter and early spring. Plus, grasses in a meadow can provide habitat for the insects to hide and it shades the soil. Having your soil covered helps with soil health, reduces temperature of soil which can reduce water loss, and can increase infiltration of rainfall to provide a healthier environment for the meadow.
3) Mix Selection
A good multiple purpose mix to consider is the Northeastern Wildflower Mix. This mixture contains 20 different wildflowers with both annuals and perennials well suited for the Northeast climate. Due to the mix of species it changes colors and textures throughout the growing season.
Another mix that has caught our eye and maybe yours if you are local to the area is the Mesic to Dry Native Pollinator Mix. This can be seen on a few locations near Blue Marsh Lake where it was planted by the PA Game Commission. This mix provides a showy display from spring to fall due to the mixes of grasses and native wildflowers. It attracts a number of pollinators and songbirds. We spotted honey bees, bumble bees and two Indigo Blue Bluntings while checking out the planting.
By selecting a mix of wildflowers, you are providing habitat and food for more than one species of pollinators and wildlife. So, select your purpose for creating your wildflower meadow, but let it expand to increase the impact it can have on your local environment for pollinators and wildlife. It will make it that much more enjoyable!