What is the difference between an annual and perennials?

*Perennials are wildflowers that come back every year around the same time. The seed is slower to establish itself than with annuals and rarely flower the first year.

*Annuals grow faster and will flower only in a single year, but stay in bloom for long period through the season. They make good cut flowers and extend the bloom season into the fall.

*Biennial flowers are flowers that bloom every second season they have a 2 year biological cycle and the roots remain in the ground throughout.

We recommend a combination of annual and perennial in a wildflower garden choosing seeds with staggering bloom times so you have fresh flowers and colors all season long.

backyard wildflower garden

Tips for Preparing the Flower Garden 

 Prepare the garden bed by breaking up the soil and extracting any weeds. Plant the seeds dense enough to out-compete the weeds. Keep seeds moist after planting until the seedlings reach 2-3 inches tall.

Germination should occur in 10-21 days and blooms in 5-6 weeks time. Follow the instructions on the seed packets for maximum harvest. The seeds vary in size.

Mowing some time in late fall or early spring while plants are dormant cuts back dead vegetation and prevents new plants from developing.

Tips for Proper Flower Seed Storage

Ensure your seeds stay fresh with proper seed storage. Flower seed should always be stored in the refrigerator prior to planting.

Flower Seed is generally packed for viability for one year. The packers are required to print something on the packet in reference to the year the seed was packed.

The only way to know for sure if the seed has been sitting around for a while is to test the germination by planting a few seeds.

At Sheffield’s, we do a cut test when seed arrives to see how “meaty” the seed is before we check it in. We have 7 walk in coolers and freezers for seed storage in our warehouse, some seeds we keep for years and years, like the Doomsday Seed Bank in Norway.

Pollinator Plants for New England Gardens
Wildflower garden seed species vary with region.
Here is a detailed example of flowers for Northern New England gardens from Horticulturist Cathy Neal.


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