Will weed killer kill Wildflowers?

Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Derek

Do You Have to Weed a Wildflower Garden?

You can weed a wildflower garden. There are different methods to weed and you can either pull up the weeds or use a weed killer. Weeding helps to keep weeds in check and also get rid of other weeds that would compete with wildflowers.

There is another type of wildflower garden called a meadow garden. This requires low maintenance and weeding. Meadows are not cultivated, and no plant species are intentionally planted in them. They grow naturally from seeds carried by the wind or by animals.

What Kills Weeds but Not Wildflowers?

A weed killer for wildflowers kills only weed but not wildflowers. There are several ways to use weed killer without harming your wildflowers. Therefore, you can use a weed killer that is labeled for wildflowers.

These will usually say something like “for use on wildflowers” on the label. These are usually safe for most wildflowers, but always read the label to ensure you are using them properly.

A second way to keep your wildflowers from being harmed by weed killer is to spray it only on the weeds in a particular area and not the flowers themselves. This will limit the amount of poison that gets into the soil, which may be absorbed by your flowers later on.

How To Tell Weeds from Wildflowers

Weeds are plants growing where you don’t want them to grow. These are plants that grow out of place and competes with other plants.Wildflowers are plants that grow naturally in an area and do not need any help from humans to grow and flourish.
They suffocate the other plants and therefore need to be eliminated.Tend to be much prettier than weeds and can even add beauty to a garden or yard.  

How Do You Kill Weeds in A Wildflower Garden?

You can use a weed killer for wildflowers. The key to using weed killers in a wildflower garden is not to let them kill the other plants. 

The best way to kill weeds without harming your other plants is to use a weed killer that only targets specific plants.

Another way of killing weeds without killing the wildflowers is to use a weed barrier. When you lay down the barrier, you cover up the weeds. The weeds will die underneath the barrier, but your wildflowers will not be harmed because they are above the barrier.

Some of the other ways of killing weeds in a wildflower garden include:

  • Smothering existing vegetation and weeds.
  • Using herbicides or weed killers as mentioned.
  • Using soil fumigants that only kills the weed seeds so they do not sprout.
  • Tilling instead of herbicides.
Common Weeds and Type of Weedkiller to Use
Weed Type of Weedkiller
Dandelion Herbicide containing glyphosate
Crabgrass Pre-emergent herbicide
Clover Post-emergent herbicide containing triclopyr
Thistle Herbicide containing dicamba

Royal Horticultural Society

Infographic: How do you kill weeds in a wildflower garden?

Will weed killer kill wildflowers?
Infographic: How do you kill weeds in a wildflower garden

How Do You Kill Grass in Wildflowers?

You can use grass specific herbicide or weed killer among other methods. You should, therefore, check for the herbicides that have the ingredients of clethodim, fluazifop-p, and sethoxydim. These will kill grass and leave our wildflowers.

Weed killers are designed to kill just the plants that you want gone, in this case grass. And in many cases, the chemicals in weed killers won’t even be absorbed by your wildflowers. You can also try pulling out grass if they are in loose soil by hand.

How Much Water Do Wildflowers Need?

Wildflowers need water depending on the zone. In the Western parts of the United States, you will need to provide water to your wildflowers every day for them to blossom.

However, wildflowers tend to be more drought tolerant than other types of flowers and can also survive in areas with little rainfall. However, the soil mustn’t dry out completely. The flowers will die if the soil around a wildflower bed dries out too much. 

To ensure the soil stays moist, water the flowers once a week to keep the soil from drying out too much. Like the desert primrose, some wildflowers need lots of water to grow. In this case, it is necessary to water the plants every day.

How to kill weeds in a wildflower garden
Mixed varieties of wildflower

Fertilizer For Wildflowers

Wildflowers need low nitrogen fertilizers. This will make them to blossom and to flower. Fertilizer that is not labeled specifically for wildflowers should be used with caution.

Some wildflower species are sensitive to certain types of fertilizer and can be burned or damaged by the chemicals. Check with the local nursery or other local plant experts to determine what types of fertilizer are safe for the plants in your area and how much should be used.

Fertilizer can be applied using several different methods. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Sprinkling dry fertilizer over the top of the soil
  • Watering in liquid fertilizer with a hose or watering can

Fertilizing wildflowers with compost tea is also becoming very popular. This is simply water that has been enriched with compost and other organic matter.

Compost tea is sprayed on the leaves of plants or applied to the soil around them. Since compost tea can be applied to the leaves, it can also be used on wildflowers that have been transplanted into gardens.

Fertilizers – Montana State

Hydroseeding Wildflowers

Hydroseeding is a process that takes place before the wildflowers are planted. It involves spreading seeds and other nutrients over the ground and watering it down with water.

It’s easier for the seeds to take root as they are covered by the water, which keeps them moist and warm. The process also adds nutrients to the soil, making it easier for plants to grow.

If you want your wildflowers to grow quickly, you can use hydroseeding as a method of planting them. After the wildflowers are hydroseeded, use a shovel to dig holes in the ground where you want them to grow. You need to ensure at least a one-foot gap between each plant to have room to grow. 

Then cover the seeds you plant with about an inch of soil. Water the soil regularly and keep an eye on your wildflowers. Once they start to shoot up, you can stop watering them, so they grow strong.

FAQ about wildflower gardens and weeds

Can I use herbicides to kill weeds in my wildflower garden?

While herbicides can be effective in killing weeds, they can also harm your wildflowers. It’s best to avoid using herbicides in a wildflower garden.

What’s the best way to prevent weeds from growing in my wildflower garden?

The best way to prevent weeds is to keep your wildflower garden healthy and dense. This will help prevent weeds from taking root and thriving. You can also try using a thick layer of organic mulch to suppress weed growth.

Can I pull weeds by hand in my wildflower garden?

Yes, pulling weeds by hand can be an effective way to remove them from your wildflower garden. Just be careful not to disturb your wildflowers while doing so.

How often should I weed my wildflower garden?

It’s best to weed your wildflower garden regularly, before the weeds have a chance to get out of control. Depending on the size of your garden and the number of weeds, you may need to weed once a week or every few weeks.

What should I do with the weeds I pull from my wildflower garden?

It’s best to dispose of weeds in the trash or compost bin. Don’t add weeds to your garden waste pile or compost heap, as this can spread weed seeds.

Are there any natural weed killers I can use in my wildflower garden?

Yes, there are a number of natural weed killers that can be effective in a wildflower garden, such as vinegar or boiling water. Just be sure to only apply these treatments to the weeds, and not to your wildflowers.

Can I use a weed barrier in my wildflower garden?

Yes, a weed barrier can be an effective way to prevent weeds from growing in your wildflower garden. Just be sure to use a porous material that allows water and nutrients to penetrate the soil, and to cut holes in the barrier for your wildflowers to grow through.


12 Types of Wildflowers for Summer Gardens – The Spruce

Native Wildflowers – Prairie Nursery

Celebrating Wildflowers – USDA Forest Service

wildflowers – Natural Lands

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