What flowers can I plant in a natural/grassy area?

juells3(zone 5, Ohio)January 14, 2005

I have a natural, tall grassy area on my property which I would like to plant or seed with flowers and wildflowers. The grass is pretty thick. There has been a little goldenrod growing but I want some more color, and maybe some plants that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds and some wildlife.

If I would plant butterfly bushes, monarda, etc, or if I spread some wildflower seeds such as poppies, etc. will they be able to survive in the grasses & burrs, etc?

Anybody have any other ideas?

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ahughes798(z5 IL)

What kind of grass is it? First you'd probably have to kill off all the grass. It's more than likely not native, and would smother any seed and/or plants you put in there.

Please don't plant butterfly bushes. Yes, they're pretty. They're also invasive.

Once you deal with the grass..there's tons of native stuff you could grow that would attract butterflies, birds and native wildlife.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 8:59AM
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john_mo(z5/6)

As pointed out in the previous post, you need to find out what type of grasses are growing in you area. Even if they are native, you would probably need to kill off patches or strips of the grass to allow successful planting of wildflower seed (or even potted or bare-root plants). Most non-native pasture grasses are probably to aggressive for you to successfully interplant forbs -- you would probably need to kill off the whole grass area and start from scratch.

Starting a meadow planting is not as simple as you might think, and it will take a couple years to nurture a successful mixed native grass/wildflower planting. However, it is a fairly straightforward process, not rocket science. If you search through this forum, you will find many messages that describe the basic procedure. Another good source is the web site for Wild Ones, an organization dedicated to landscaping with native plants. Also, if you find a good commercial source of native plants and seeds in your region, they should be able to give you good advice about how to prepare and plant your site.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Ones

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 10:11AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

i think adding some native flowers to attract birds and butterflies is a great idea. i agree with the other posts. 1. stay away from butterfly bushes. you will attract more birds and butterflies with the flowers they adapted and evolved with as its instictive for them to prefer them over the strange (at least to their evolution) bushes.

2. its a little bit of work to get those flowers to grow in a field thats already full of grasses. its not as simple as spreading some seed and getting some flowers. you will have to kill off areas and stay up on weed control.

i would identify what is growing there now to decide the best way to remove it. i would not attempt to remove all of it but perhaps start in small patches. smother a small area and then build from there. starting small has many adavantages - you can build your own seed bank, weed control doesnt overwhelm you at all once, its cheaper, and you figure out what works for your soil, water and light conditions. you can always expand the area and change the flowers and you become more familiar with them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2005 at 1:17PM
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