Is there anything more breathtaking than hiking in our Colorado mountains, and coming across a meadow full of colorful wildflowers? You can achieve the same level of beauty in your own garden using Colorado native plants and a few tips for harvesting your wildflower seeds. The seeds you harvest can be sowed immediately, stored or given to friends and neighbors as gifts.
Step One – Choose your favorite wildflowers. We recommend choosing a plant species native to Colorado for your wildflower nursery. In addition to being drought tolerant and hardy, our native birds and butterflies will make a more regular appearance in your backyard. Examples include:
- Reds: Fairy Trumpet, Cowboy’s Delight, Alpine Wallflower Plant
- Blues: Green Mertensia Flowers, Field Milkvetch Flowers, Penstemon and Bee
- Yellows: Alpine Sunflower, Coneflower, Butter’n'Eggs Flower
You can visit Wildflowers of Colorado for a comprehensive list.
Step Two – Plant them. Fall is the season to plant wildflowers, so you’re in luck. The seeds like to overwinter in the soil and sprout in the spring. Most wildflowers do best in well-drained and aerated soil, but research the preferred site and moisture conditions for your wildflower selections just to be safe.
Step Three – Harvest the seeds. Once your flowers bloom and dry up, you can harvest your seeds for next year. This is a pleasant late-summer and fall task. You’ll know the seeds are ready when they begin to drop off or scatter in the wind.
Anything from glass jars to paper bags will do. If seeds are easy to harvest, you can take the time to crumble or pick them right off the flower heads. If the seeds are more difficult to extract, or so tiny that it takes forever to collect them, use your shears to cut off the entire tops from the flowering stems. Throw them in a big paper bag and save them for a cold winter night. Then, remove the seeds while relaxing by a cozy fire. You can plant your seeds immediately for next year, or store them in small, labeled, paper bags or jars.
Contact Lifescape for help selecting Colorado native plants for your wildflower nursery.