Butterfly and Moth Wildflower Seed Mix
Butterflies and moths need native plants not only as sources of nectar, but also as food plants for their caterpillars. Many have a single species of food plant. That relationship means butterflies and moths are particularly vulnerable to the disappearance of plant species from our countryside - some particularly so. You can see this in recent data; "generalist" butterflies are doing relatively better than specialists. Many of their food plants are trees, shrubs and grasses, but some are also the wildflowers that butterflies and moths nectar from too. This seed mix will bring them into your garden. It includes some of the wildflowers most useful for them and attractive for you.
About this Seed for Butterflies and Moths
The seed mix comprises 100% native British wildflowers, sustainably harvested in the UK. We have designed it to benefit not just a variety of moths and butterflies, but other pollinators like bees too. The wildflowers here are all recommended by Butterfly Conservation. There are a lot of different types of flowers here, partly to make sure the mix will work in a wide range of conditions and partly to ensure a long flowering sequence. You'll see a few flowers in year one but it will really get going from year two. As it has no grasses, our butterfly and moth seed mix only needs sowing up to 2g / square metre.
There are full instructions on the back of the packet, but the seeds are pretty simple to sow. Clear the weeds and grasses from the area you want to seed and rake to what gardening books describe as a "fine tilth". Then sow the seeds - best done in spring and late summer/autumn. You'll be surprise how low the seeding rate is - seeding a lawn, for example, needs up to 50 times more seed per square metre. A helpful tip; mix the seed in with sand to bulk it out and make sure you don't overseed the first bit of your site then run out! Don't add topsoil or compost and just tread in or roll lightly once sown - don't cover the seeds with soil. While they get established make sure the seedlings don't dry out.
You can generally expect to receive your seed within five working days of placing an order.
Anthyllis vulneraria Kidney vetch
Centaurea cyanus Cornflower
Lotus corniculatus Bird's-foot trefoil
Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss
Cardamine pratensis Cuckooflower
Centaurea nigra Common Knapweed (in photo)
Knautia arvensis Field Scabious
Origanum vulgare Wild Marjoram
Primula veris Cowslip
Silene dioica Red Campion
Trifolium pratense Wild Red Clover
Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch
Vicia sepium Bush Vetch
Supplier: All Things Rural
Is My Site Suitable?
If you want to make a meadow you'll need a sunny site with relatively poor soil. Why poor soil? It's not so much that wildflowers don't like fertility, just that weeds like it more! You will have a constant battle on your hands with weeds like Dock and Nettle. If soil fertility has been improved artificially you can reduce it before starting; some people grow a crop of potatoes in the season before they start, others invert the soil so that relatively infertile subsoil is on top and the topsoil is buried.
When Do I Seed?
You can seed in spring or autumn - whenever it's wet and warm. If you seed in the spring make sure your seedlings don't conk out in a dry spell in summer, so keep them watered. If you have heavy ground don't seed too late in the autumn, as the seed will just sit on the ground and rot. If you sow in autumn you'll get some germination that season and some in the spring aftrerwards from species which need a prolonged period of cold to trigger it. These include Yellow Rattle, Rhinanthus minor. Apart from the Rattle please remember that the species in most of our mixes are all perennials and won't flower in their first year of establishment.
What Preparation Do I Need to Do?
There's no short cut here - you really need a seedbed which is clear of weeds and existing grass. Don't cheat! Firstly, your new seed needs to have light and contact with the bare ground. Second, it is much, MUCH more difficult to deal with unwelcome plants once the plants you do want are established. It's best to physically remove all existing vegetation and then rotovate/hoe any seedlings that come up. Then do it again! Rake the seedbed over to get rid of any lumps, detritus and stones.
Ready to sow
How Do I Seed?
The seed mixes we sell typically need sowing at 4g per square metre. This is not a lot! It's a good idea to add something like sand to the seed, so you don't end up running out of seed half way through your project. Don't be tempted to think the seeding rate is too low and seed at a much higher rate - you'll end up looking at a lawn; the wildflowers in the mix need space. Mark out the area you want to seed into squares using canes to help get an even covering. Scatter the seed / sand on the surface of the soil - don't bury it - and tread / roll in to make sure the contact with it is good. I would just scatter by hand unless you have a large area to cover, and do two passes - one North / South and one West / East, if you see what I mean.
How Do I Manage my Meadow Area?
Contrary to popular belief, this is not as time consuming or difficult as managing a lawn. Make sure the seedlings don't dry out. Pull out any weeds you see appearing. Early on, these will be things like thistle, mayweed, dock and nettle. All of these plants have value for wildlife, but they will take over given half the chance! Start mowing or grazing your meadow area from late July. This helps light reach the wildflowers, which typically form leaves close to the ground, and stops weeds from seeding. Don't be tempted to wait and wait before cutting it as the grass will just get thicker and thicker and fall over; it MUST be cut before September. Keep the meadow area cut or grazed from then until say early March. If you're cutting it, remove the cuttings. That's it!
Wildflower Seed Advice & Guides
Which wildflower seeds do I buy?
A simple guide explaining the different kinds of wildflower seed mixes available
How to make a wildflower meadow
An easy to follow introduction to wildflower meadowmaking
Wildflowers in your garden
A how to guide to establishing a wildflower patch in your garden
How and When to Cut Your Wildflower Meadow
A practical introduction to mowing your meadow!
Starting a wildflower meadow (Video)
Our video guide on how to start your own wildflower meadow