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Don’t panic. The thing that surprises people the most about our seed packs and blends is the actual volume of seed in the envelope. Seed size is extremely variable. Seeds of some plants are as small as a speck of dust, while others like acorns for example, are much larger. Did you know...
In other words, to cover an area of 80m2 (~860 sq ft) you would need:
Same area coverage, VERY different volume due to seed size. For this reason, volumes of seed vary immensely depending on species. That’s why we measure seed by the amount of area it can cover (in metres squared) rather than weight or volume. See our Seeding Instructions for more.
In photo above, this half cup of native seed mix has ~105,000 seeds and would very generously cover 175m2
The purpose of a carrier (e.g. sand, vermiculite, sawdust, or another kind of mixing agent) is to help you achieve even seed distribution, but it is not necessarily a requirement for scattering seed. Carriers can also help you to see visually the areas you have covered. We don’t add any filler to our seed mixes and instead try to educate about seed volumes. Customers can be assured with reduced volume in our packages that we are keeping our shipping and mailing costs as low as possible. You can add between 1/8 cup to 1/2 cup of carrier for every m2 of area you have to cover.
Carrier volume should be determined by the size area you are trying to cover, not the volume of seed. There is no exact measurement for how much carrier you should use, only general guidelines. See our Seeding Instructions for more.
The role of a carrier is to help you distribute seeds evenly, but in a sense, the amount of carrier you use is arbitrary because the rate of spread varies (the seed volume will be the same no matter how much carrier you use). You should use as much carrier as you need to confidently go over your area once, and preferably twice. Over small areas, we recommend as much as a half cup per m2. Over very large areas, we reduce this amount to as little as an ⅛ to 1/16 of a cup per m2
To help you gain confidence, try mixing your seed with a generous amount of a light-coloured carrier that you can see on the dark soil. Then lightly toss the mix in a fanning motion as you walk systematically over your area (walking along lines is helpful to ensure you have covered all of the area). As you continue to do this, you will be able to see where your seed has been distributed and assure yourself that you will be able to cover the entire area. If you haven’t completed your area and begin to run low, add more carrier in. Mixing enough carrier in to make at least two passes over the area will ensure even coverage and lowers the risk of running out of seed before you have gone over the entire area.
For example: If you have an area of 50m2 or ~540 square feet, you could use between 6 cups and 25 cups of carrier. Since everyone sows seed differently, the amount of carrier you use depends on you.
How you blend your seed with a carrier depends on the total volume. A small pail or bucket is sufficient for most mixes. Larger areas may require a large tote or wheelbarrow where seed is blended with the carrier and then transferred to a bucket for distribution. Thorough and continuous mixing will ensure small and large seeds are not sorting (small seeds dropping to bottom and being missed).
Yes, large areas can be hand broadcast. Seed spreading tools like hydroseeding machines and belly grinders can be used as well. For large areas (0.5 acre +), try dividing your seed mix into smaller units and covering your area in segments. For example, a 1 acre seed mix could be divided into four parts and ¼ acre covered at a time. See our Seeding Instructions for more.
No, in most cases there is a staggered germination for native wildflower blends. Native wildflowers are very diverse and so too are their germination requirements and habits. Some are easy and germinate in a big flush in spring or fall, while others need a winter (or two!) to break their seed dormancy. Some are slow and irregular, meaning they germinate a little here, a little there and some more a while later. Some need cool temperatures while others need warm temperatures to germinate; a few need warm temperatures after a cool spell. There are a lot of individual expressions going on. This is why we recommend seeding wildflower blends in early fall, to ensure that the array of requirements are met.
Great question! Timing is critical, we suggest an early fall sowing (September) for best results and in some cases early spring (Feb or early March). An early fall sowing and establishment for native species allows the plants to follow the natural fall and winter cycle. When hard frosts come, they have had a chance to put down roots that will anchor them. Otherwise, they can be forced out of the ground as water in the soil crystallizes and expands (called frost-heaving), forcing the seedlings up and out. In severe winter weather, particularly dry cold, this can still happen, but better-established plants are more resilient.
Sowing in early fall also allows for a short growing window after germination because the weather is still warm enough..
Slopes are a good example where the early establishment is necessary to prevent erosion/runoff and to prevent the seeds from washing down the slope in rain events. If they have a chance to establish roots before the rain events, then they are anchored safely. Establishment takes time and requires patience. Once seeded, the area should be protected from trampling by dogs, people, and deer. We recommend staying completely off the newly seeded area for 8 months to a year.
In early fall and early spring some birds may be interested in new seedlings and seeds. Ground birds like Dark-eyed Juncos and Golden-crowned Sparrows are especially prone. Our seeding rates buffer against some losses, but if you find you are witnessing tremendous activity, try using a temporary insect netting until activity wains. Insect netting has a fine enough texture to prevent birds being trapped and still allows light and rain through.
You may see some flowers in the first year from our native wildflower blends, but not necessarily all of them will bloom. If your seed doesn’t germinate the first year it has not gone bad, it is just waiting for the right conditions. Many perennials don’t flower in their first year, some of the bulb species (Great and Common Camas, White Fawn-lily) take up to 7 years to produce their first flower. All annuals flower in their first year (e.g. Sea Blush, Farewell-to-Spring) and some perennials do as well (e.g. Yarrow, Woolly Sunflower).
If you would like only seeds that typically flower within the first year or two, you can request a custom blend that is suitable for your garden or site conditions. To ensure you prepare your site adequately, see our Seeding Instructions.
This may be true for some native wildflowers, but not the majority. Each plant has preferred or ideal growing conditions, and some require very specific conditions to grow and flower year after year. If the soil moisture or sun exposure changes (a neighbour cuts down a large tree, for example), so too will the species that thrive in those conditions. When you see a meadow covered in wildflowers, you must consider how much time it has had to become what it is. It only takes a few minutes to destroy what has taken hundreds or even thousands of years to develop. It will never be the same again in your lifetime once it is destroyed. If you are building on land that has native plants growing on it - protect them as best you can. It is not easy, cheap, or even always possible to replace them.
The most accurate and detailed plant identification is accomplished with a photo of flowering or fruiting structure present. Sometimes the only way to accurately ID a plant is from a freshly picked and pressed plant specimen in hand (not wilted in your pocket). Once you are familiar with common plant terms, botanical manuals and regional field guides are a perfect way to start identifying. There are also many Facebook groups dedicated to helping you ID your plant(s).
Our favourite plant ID resources are:
From potted plant: Maybe. We sell primarily perennial native plants in pots. Potted plants can be anywhere from 1 month old to 10 years old. We can never guarantee a bloom the year of transplant but most species will bloom the 2nd year if their environment is right. For successful planting from pots, see our Planting from Pot Instructions.
From seed: Many will, but not all. Bloom times and requirements largely depend on the individual species and surrounding environment. For successful seeding, see our Seeding Instructions.
Satinflower Nurseries is committed to providing you the highest quality seed and plants. We want you to succeed in establishing natives plants! We guarantee species to be true to name and that plants and seeds arrive in good condition.
We cannot guarantee successful growth after planting, but please let us know about any disappointments you experience; we may be able to help. Please see our Return Policy for more information.
We are located at 741 Haliburton Rd
Haliburton Community Organic Farm
Saanich BC Canada
Satinflower Nurseries resides on the Coast Salish Territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples.