Sowing Wildflower Seeds in Winter
You can mimic Mother Nature by sowing seeds in winter. We recommend sowing just prior to a snowstorm.
Traditionally, we think of the balmy days of spring or summer as the time to sow seeds in our gardens. And while this may be true of many annual flowers and vegetables, seeds of perennial wildflowers are best sown in the late fall or winter! Why? Many perennials have seeds that require a period of cold, moist conditions to break down naturally occurring chemicals in the seeds that inhibit germination. These substances protect the seeds from germinating prematurely such that they wait until the following spring to sprout. This process is called cold stratification.
I have found that by working with nature and the weather, perennial wildflower seeds can be sown directly into the landscape to add color, feed pollinators like bees and hummingbirds and create a more natural looking landscape.
Leave perennials standing to allow them to self seed and to provide a food source for birds in winter. (Goldfinch on Red Rocks Penstemon.)
Sow seeds directly on snow during the winter will produce the perfect conditions for germination in the spring.
My favorite technique is to mimic mother nature and sow these seeds just before snowfall. You can watch the weather carefully beginning in the late fall/early winter months for predictions of a good snowfall, 4-6 inches at least. You can seed just before the snowstorm, so the snow acts as a blanket.
Steps To Sowing In Winter
- Make sure you seed in an area with a prepared garden bed (grass or weeds have been removed).
- Get a plastic bucket and mix the seeds with slightly damp sand to help distribute the seeds more evenly onto the ground.
- Go out and scatter the seed/sand mix over the area to be seeded and wait for the snow to come and “tuck them in.” When the snow melts, the freezing at night and thawing during the day help work the seeds into the soil. Continued snows just enhance the effect and provide the moist, cold conditions these perennials seed require to germinate the following spring.
If you miss the first couple of snows, it’s fine to sow the seeds right on top of the snow (though they may not germinate quite as robustly as those sowed directly onto the ground). With a little sunshine, the darker seeds absorb and heat up melting themselves down into the snow. Better yet, the next snow buries the seeds down more deeply below the surface. Just as sowing prior to the first snows, seeds are moved into soil by freezing and thawing as the snow melts later.
I don’t recommend sowing on top of the snow if your yard gets a lot of wind. Wind can blow the top layers of the snow and seeds to another part of the landscape or your neighbor’s yard! In windy areas, it’s best to try and get underneath the snow earlier in November of December.
To make sure the perennial wildflower seeds are subjected to a long enough stretch of cold, moist conditions, try to get the seeds sown by February. Note that a mixture of annual and perennial wildflower seeds can be sown using this method. The annuals will sprout nicely even though they don’t need the damp winter cold.
Be patient and by late spring/early summer you should see lots of small seedlings establishing themselves into your landscape.
Our Western Perennial Wildflower seed mix will provide long-lasting natural beauty in your landscape. This mix is drought-tolerant, deer resistant, and will hold its color in the cha.
Our Western Perennial Wildflower seed mix will provide long-lasting natural beauty in your landscape. This mix is drought-tolerant, deer resistant, and will hold its color in the challenging Western climate, making it the perfect way to establish a low-maintenance garden or meadow that’s alive with blooms, bees, and butterflies. Perennials will start blooming in year two or three. Once mature, each passing year will bring more color as the plants naturalize and spread, with flowers blooming from late spring through summer.
Our Superbloom Native Wildflower Seed Mix is inspired by the phenomenon of sweeping hillsides painted with flower petals. Bring that beauty to your home with this easy-to-grow wildfl.
Our Superbloom Native Wildflower Seed Mix is inspired by the phenomenon of sweeping hillsides painted with flower petals. Bring that beauty to your home with this easy-to-grow wildflower mix, including famous California Poppies, Lupines, and more. Butterflies and bees will appreciate the nectar supply from spring to summer. Though Superblooms are famous on the west coast, this wildflower seed mix can be grown in most soil types for a spectacular backyard show.
Restore a piece of the prairie with our Little Prairie Native Wildflower Seed Mix, featuring hardy native wildflowers and grasses. Above ground, the plants provide habitat for butter.
Restore a piece of the prairie with our Little Prairie Native Wildflower Seed Mix, featuring hardy native wildflowers and grasses. Above ground, the plants provide habitat for butterflies, birds, and beneficial insects, with colorful wildflowers in bloom from spring to fall. Below ground, deep root help filter water, improve soil health, sequester carbon, and prevent erosion. Plant this mix and enjoy watching pollinators and birds fly from flower to flower, with wildflowers and grasses swaying gently in the breeze.
Our Native Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix is a hardy mix of native annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive in dry, well-drained soils. This all-native wildflower mix is an excelle.
Our Native Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix is a hardy mix of native annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive in dry, well-drained soils. This all-native wildflower mix is an excellent solution for dry meadows, lawn replacement, and xeriscapes where you want to create a habitat-friendly planting for pollinators, birds, and wildlife. Once established, this colorful mix of drought-resistant wildflowers will bloom from spring all the way through mid-fall.
Our Western Hummingbird Wildflower Seed Mix features wildflowers that thrive in the harsh heat of the West to provide abundant nectar for hummingbirds. Bright blooms of Salvia, Penst.
Our Western Hummingbird Wildflower Seed Mix features wildflowers that thrive in the harsh heat of the West to provide abundant nectar for hummingbirds. Bright blooms of Salvia, Penstemon, Snapdragons, and more will keep them coming back year after year. Natural nectar is the best way to fuel the flight of hummingbirds, and this mix is a great way to establish a generous nectar buffet. Delight in watching these winged jewels darting from flower to flower.
Our carefully curated Rare Southwest Native Wildflower Seed Mix includes a beautiful mix of wildflowers adapted to the unique Southwestern climate. Plant a beautiful pollinator-frien.
Our carefully curated Rare Southwest Native Wildflower Seed Mix includes a beautiful mix of wildflowers adapted to the unique Southwestern climate. Plant a beautiful pollinator-friendly garden or meadow that is rugged and reliable in an often challenging climate. This mix will provide stunning blooms in the first season and for years to come.
Our Intermountain Native Wildflower Seed Mix features 19 wildflowers native to the rugged western United States. These tough native wildflowers can handle the hot summers and harsh w.
Our Intermountain Native Wildflower Seed Mix features 19 wildflowers native to the rugged western United States. These tough native wildflowers can handle the hot summers and harsh winter climates to offer colorful blooms year after year. Attract pollinators with colorful lupines, coneflowers, penstemon, and more. Plant for casual gardens, no-mow lawn alternatives, and stunning meadows.
A customer favorite for over 25 years, this special blend of wildflowers will do very well in dry, well-drained soils. Popular in coastal areas or sandy soil conditions, this mix con.
A customer favorite for over 25 years, this special blend of wildflowers will do very well in dry, well-drained soils. Popular in coastal areas or sandy soil conditions, this mix contains 25 hardy wildflower varieties. Flowers from the annual wildflowers will begin in around just 6 weeks and last all season long with 14 annual species for first-year blooms and 11 perennial varieties for lasting flowers for years to come.
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Alyssum, Carpet Of Snow
This fragrant garden favorite produces masses of crisp white blooms and a cloud of butterfly admirers. Perfect choice for lining walkways or in window boxes.
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AK, HI, APO, FPO, PR, Canda, Islands: All Seeds, Annual Flower Plants, Bulbs, Fruit Plants, Garlic, Herb Plants, Onions, Perennial Plants, Potatoes, Shallots, Tea, Vegetable Roots, Vegetable Plants
AZ: Cilantro Plants, Hops, Grape Vines, Kiwi
CA: Apple, Blueberry, Beach Plum, Cherry, Dahlia Plants, Grapes, Lemongrass, Ornamental Grass, Peach, Pear, Plum, Pelargonium Plants, Rose Wintergreen
CO: Beach Plum, Nectaplum, Ornamental Grass, Peach, Pear, Plum, Pluot, Potato, Peacotum
DE, ME, NH, NJ, NC, OH, WV: Currant Plants, Gooseberry Plants, Jostaberry Plants
FL: Miscanthus, Potatoes
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ID: Allium, Apple, Beach Plum, Chive Plants, Cherry, Dahlia Plants, Garlic, Grapes, Hops, Leek, Onion Plants, Peach, Pear, Plum, Potatoes, Shallots
MA: Currant, Gooseberry Plants, Jostaberry Plants, Lysimachia Plants
MI: Blueberry Plants, Currant, Gooseberry Plants, Jostaberry Plants
NV: Dahlia Plants, Wintergreens
NY: Grapes, Miscanthus
OR: Beach Plum, Butterfly Bush, Corylus, Cherry, Dahlia Plants, Grapes, Hops, Peach, Plum, Pluot, Peacotum, Sambucus
SC, TN, WI: Tea Plants
TX: Dahlia Plants, Tea Plants
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Will Snow Kill Grass Seed?
Snow will not kill unsprouted grass seed. Most grass plants drop their seeds in fall. The seed then safely sits dormant during cold weather and only sprouts once the weather warms up. So, if your grass seed hasn’t germinated yet, snowfall won’t harm it. However, newly sprouted grass seedlings are easily killed by snow and frost.
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What Happens if You Plant Grass Seed and it Snows?
If you’ve overseeded your lawn and experienced an out-of-season snow flurry, your grass seed is likely still fine. Depending on the species of cool-season grass, most varieties take anywhere from 5–15 days to germinate in warm soil conditions. If the seeds are spread on cold soil, or if snow lands on the soil after you spread the seed, this will cause the seeds to stay dormant. Once conditions warm up and stay warm for several days, the seeds will sprout.
- Grass seed that has not sprouted will not be harmed by snow cover. requires 5–15 days of warm, moist soil conditions before it sprouts.
- In most cases, snow will simply delay the time until your grass seed sprouts.
If the seeds have already begun to germinate (sprout) then a late spring or early fall snowfall is very dangerous. Young seedlings that have not yet developed deep roots are easily killed by frost, snow, and freezing soil temperatures. It’s important to take the right steps to protect grass seed from frost and snowy conditions.
Does Snow Kill Grass Seedlings?
Newly sprouted grass seedlings are at risk of being killed by snow and frost during the first 6 weeks of their life. The beginning stages of a grass’ life cycle are the most delicate. The fragile roots of new grass seedlings are destroyed by cold weather and frozen ground. An out-of-season snowfall can kill seedlings of both cool and warm-season types of grass.
- Snow and frost can kill grass seedlings that are less than 6 weeks old.
- In fall, plant grass seed 6–8 weeks before the average first fall frost.
- In spring, plant grass seed 2 weeks after the average last spring frost.
Because new grass seedlings require warmer temperatures for survival, it’s important to seed your lawn at the right time to prevent cold weather from killing your seeds. If you’re seeding in the fall, spread the seed at least 6–8 weeks before the first average fall frost. If you’re seeding in spring, wait 2 weeks after the average last spring first before seeding.
What Happens if Grass Seed Freezes?
Grass seed typically won’t be harmed by freezing temperatures. Grass seed is biologically adapted to withstand snow and ice. It will sprout once the soil surface is warm and moist enough for seedlings to take root. If it isn’t eaten by birds or ruined by fungus, grass seed can withstand freezing temperatures for several months.
- Grass seed will still sprout after it has been frozen.
- Even several months of snow and ice won’t harm grass seed.
If you spread a dormant grass seed in fall and freezing temperatures arrived before your seeds could sprout, there’s a good chance that some of that seed will sprout in spring. Grass seed stored in freezing conditions will still be ready for planting in spring.
Can You Plant Grass Seed on Top of Snow?
Some cool-season grass seed is so snow-tolerant that you can even get good results by planting grass seed in winter. Although you should usually avoid planting grass seed on top of snow because it will often be eaten by birds and other pests, seeding grass seed on frozen ground is a great tactic. Once the cold weather breaks, the grass seed will germinate. This means you’ll get new grass earlier in the year.
- You can spread grass seed on frozen ground during winter and have great success.
- Avoid spreading grass seed on top of snow when possible—seed on top of snow is easy pickings for birds.
- For best results with winter seeding, spread grass seed in February or March.
When winter-planting grass seed, it’s best to spread the seed in late winter. Grass seed spread on frozen ground in February or early March has a far better chance of sprouting in spring versus grass spread in December or January.
Will Ground Frost Kill Grass Seed?
Grass seeds typically won’t be damaged by frost. Even warm season grasses such as Bermuda and St. Augustine spread seeds can survive freezing temperatures. The seeds will simply lay dormant until the weather warms enough to provide a safe environment for young grass. On the other hand, newly sprouted grass can be killed by frost or snow. To prevent your baby grass from being wiped out by a freeze, seed your lawn in fall well before the first average frost. Then, wait until the danger of frost has passed before you seed your lawn in spring.