Wildflowers are one of the most iconic features of the American landscape during the summer. They also bring color and beauty to our gardens and are rich in meaning and symbolism. But can you cultivate wildflowers indoors as well? In this article, we’ll find out whether you can grow wildflowers indoors.
Can Wildflowers Grow Indoors?
Wildflowers cannot grow permanently indoors like houseplants. Wildflowers inhabit grasslands, open prairies, and woodlands in several states, including California and Colorado. Most wildflowers (spanning both annuals and perennials) need full sun and loose, nutrient-poor soils.
Many people grow wildflowers in their gardens to provide for beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. Growing wildflowers indoors would prevent these vital insects from collecting nectar and pollen.
However, you can start wildflower seeds off indoors before transplanting them into the garden. This is extremely useful if you live in a cold climate. Starting wildflower seeds indoors protects them from cold temperatures and late frosts.
Starting your seedlings indoors helps you give them a head start until the outdoor conditions are suitable. Transplant your wildflower seedlings outside in the spring when the last frost has passed, and average temperatures reach 50ºF (10ºC).
How to Start Wildflowers Indoors
You can start wildflower seeds off indoors using plugs or small pots. This works well if you’re growing a few species of wildflowers. However, it’s best to sow them directly into the ground for wildflower seed mixes.
Here’s a quick guide to starting wildflower seeds off indoors;
- Fill small pots or plugs with moist seed compost. Tamp the compost down using your fingers to provide a good surface for the seeds.
- Sow your seeds in the pot at the recommended depth on the packet. Sow two seeds per pot or plug.
- Place your plugs or pots in a tray and fill the tray with water. The compost will soak up the water to help start the germination process.
- Place the tray on a warm, sunny windowsill and wait for your seedlings to emerge. You can cover the tray with some plastic wrap to increase humidity if you like. Remove the wrap once the seedlings start to emerge.
- Water your seedlings every two or three days to keep the soil moist.
- Once the seedlings are approximately one inch high, remove the weaker seedling in each pot.
How to Plant Out Wildflowers
Once the final spring frost has passed, you can transplant your seedlings outside. Harden them off over the course of a week to help the seedlings acclimatize. Leave the seedlings outside in indirect light for a few hours, increasing the duration by an hour each day.
Once your seedlings are hardened off, carefully remove the pots and plant the seedlings into the soil. Place your wildflowers somewhere that gets at least six hours of the direct morning sun. Most wildflowers will thrive in a range of locations, including slopes and hillsides, as well as pots and containers.
Wildflowers cannot be grown indoors permanently. However, you can start wildflower seedlings off indoors to give them a head start. This is ideal if you live in a colder climate. Starting wildflowers off indoors protects them from late frosts until the average soil temperature reaches 50ºF (10ºC).
For more, see our in-depth guide on when wildflowers bloom each season.
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.