Wildflowers are an iconic part of America’s natural beauty. These adaptable flowers are equally at home in gardens as they are on prairies and grasslands. Wildflowers also bring several benefits to our lives. In this article, we’ll examine ten amazing uses and benefits of wildflowers.
- 10 Amazing Uses and Benefits of Wildflowers
- 1) Wildflowers Are Easy to Grow
- 2) Wildflowers Are Great for Wildlife
- 3) Wildflowers Come in Different Varieties
- 4) Wildflowers Are Low-Maintenance
- 5) Wildflowers Can Help Reduce Stress & Increase Productivity
- 6) Some Wildflowers Produce Wonderful Scents
- 7) Some Wildflowers Are Edible
- 8) Some Wildflowers Have Medicinal Properties
- 9) Wildflowers Make Excellent Cut or Dried Flowers
- 10) Wildflowers Can Make Us Happier
- Wrapping Up
10 Amazing Uses and Benefits of Wildflowers:
1) Wildflowers Are Easy to Grow
Wildflowers are adaptable plants that are easy to grow. These colorful plants thrive in barren, nutrient-poor soils. Wildflowers spring up quickly after wildfires to colonize new areas.
The best time to sow wildflowers is in the spring. Prepare the soil first by weeding thoroughly and raking until the soil is loose and level. Then thinly sow your wildflower seeds and gently tread them into the soil.
Most wildflowers need full sun and loose, well-draining soils. Many wildflower species are drought-tolerant and won’t need watering once established. You can also grow wildflowers in containers if you’re short on space.
2) Wildflowers Are Great for Wildlife
Wildflowers provide several important benefits for wildlife. These flowers are vital sources of nectar and pollen for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and hummingbirds. This also provides food for animals that prey on insects.
Wildflowers produce lots of seeds at the end of the flowering season. Birds feed on these seeds to see them through the winter. Many insects hibernate in hollow wildflower stems.
Although you can cut back wildflowers after flowering, leaving the stems and seed heads over winter really helps wildlife. Then cut your wildflowers back in early spring.
3) Wildflowers Come in Different Varieties
Wildflowers come in many different colors, flower shapes, and sizes. Wildflowers are generally divided into annuals, perennials, and biennials. Grow a mix of wildflowers to get the most variety.
Annuals only live for one year but grow faster and flower for longer than perennials. Biennials and perennials won’t flower in their first year while they develop strong roots. Biennials live for two years, while perennials live for at least three years.
Annuals require very little maintenance other than deadheading. Perennials need a bit more care and should be cut back once a year.
4) Wildflowers Are Low-Maintenance
Not only are wildflowers easy to grow, but they also require very little maintenance. Annuals need virtually no maintenance, especially if you let them self-seed. Perennials need a bit more maintenance but are still easy to care for.
Although many wildflowers are drought-tolerant, it’s best to water them once a week in periods of excessive drought. Deadhead wildflowers throughout the flowering season to encourage a second round of blooms.
Cut wildflowers back once a year. You can either do this in the fall after flowering or wait until early spring.
5) Wildflowers Can Help Reduce Stress & Increase Productivity
Wildflowers may benefit our mental health as well. Several studies have explored the effects of plants like wildflowers on our stress and productivity levels.
One study examined the effects of looking at flowers after viewing a negative image. The results show that looking at flowers produced the largest drop in cortisol – a common stress hormone. Looking at flowers also lowered blood pressure.
6) Some Wildflowers Produce Wonderful Scents
Although wildflowers produce fragrances to lure in pollinators, we can certainly enjoy them as well. Some wildflowers produce sweet floral scents, while others may produce spicy or fruity aromas.
Cut or dried wildflowers may preserve some of their scent, which you can then bring into your home. Some of the most fragrant wildflowers include bee balm, common yarrow, evening primrose, phlox, and sweet alyssum.
7) Some Wildflowers Are Edible
Wildflowers aren’t just for show. Some wildflower species are edible and have been cultivated by different cultures throughout history. Both Aztec and Native American societies grew wildflowers as crops.
Some wildflowers like borage, coneflowers, fireweed, marigolds, and zinnias have edible flowers or leaves. Pick leaves while they’re young because older leaves can taste bitter. Some wildflowers, such as coneflowers, can also be used to make tea.
However, always check whether wildflowers are edible first. Some wildflower species can be toxic to humans as well as dogs, cats, and other animals.
8) Some Wildflowers Have Medicinal Properties
Some wildflowers can also have medicinal properties. Native American societies used wildflowers extensively to treat ailments such as headaches, fevers, and colds.
Even in modern times, we still rely on wildflowers for medicine. Over 10% of our basic or essential drugs are derived from plants like wildflowers. Different parts of certain wildflowers can be used as medicine, including flowers, leaves, roots, and stems.
The most famous example is the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Native Americans used coneflowers to treat burns, insect bites, toothaches, and colds.
9) Wildflowers Make Excellent Cut or Dried Flowers
Many wildflowers are used as cut or dried flowers. A vase of wildflowers makes a beautiful decoration for any home. Harvesting wildflowers as cut or dried flowers can encourage the plant to produce more blooms.
You can harvest wildflowers using a cut-and-come-again approach. Always cut above a node to help the plant regrow. Wildflowers can be dried by hanging them in a cool, dry place. Black-eyed Susan, coneflowers, cosmos, and zinnias make excellent cut flowers.
10) Wildflowers Can Make Us Happier
Seeing wildflowers in our gardens or out on a hike can also make us happier. Numerous studies have shown that looking at flowers stimulates our brains to produce positive hormones and chemicals. These include dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin.
Wildflowers also bring us closer to nature. Numerous studies have shown that being in nature makes us happier, less stressed, and more creative. Hiking through wildflower meadows or growing wildflowers in our gardens also provides healthy physical activity.
Wildflowers are highly beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife. However, wildflowers provide benefits to humans as well. Wildflowers may help reduce stress and increase happiness. Wildflowers are also easy to grow. Remember that it’s illegal to pick native flowers unless you’re on private land and have the landowner’s permission.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.