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Regional seed mixtures of wildflowers

Frøavlsfelt på Landvik_Cropped_Trygve Aamlid

Photo: Trygve Aamlid.

More and more public agencies and private garden owners are replacing their immaculately kept lawns by colourful wildflower meadows. But establishing such a meadow is not necessarily that easy. Now researchers are providing advice on regional adaptations.v

Anyone wanting to establish a wildflower meadow for the first time may have many questions. Where can you sow and what should you sow? And when things start to sprout and grow, how to identify what you sowed, and what you didn’t sow?

Many of the plants in wildflower meadows perform poorly in competition with grasses and other fast-growing species. Therefore, wildflower meadow seeds should ideally be sown on dry and barren sandy soil.

Plants that do best under dry conditions, like sunny and stony roadside verges, include harebells clammy campion, bird's-foot trefoil, field scabious, orpine and oxeye daisy. If you have a mold-rich or well-fertilized area, recommended plants are red clover, bird vetch, bush vetch, red campion, caraway, bladder campion and yarrow.  All you need then is the patience to wait for a colourful meadow to appear.

It can take many years before the full biodiversity potential develops in a wildflower meadow. Ideally, plant or sow in additional species to slowly increase the diversity in your meadow as seeds become available. 

Wildflower meadows generally involve little work compared to lawns. Meadows tend to be mowed only once a year, after the plants have produced seed. Allow the grass to dry on the ground until the seeds have fallen. You should then remove the hay to prevent the unwanted addition of nutrients.

Imported seed mixtures can contain species that we do not want in the Norwegian flora. Researchers therefore advise against imported wildflower mixes, and they are constantly working to provide regional alternatives. Regional seed mixes containing Norwegian wildflowers are based on collections at NIBIO's research centres across the country.