Plants are essential to everyone's lives. Welcome to Plantlife.

Is it helpful to sow packets of wildflower seeds? Or plant wild bulbs, etc?

In your own garden you can do what you like! With loving care, many lovely wild flowers can flourish, and birds, butterflies and other animals can be encouraged too.

In the wild it is another story. Most commercial packets of wildflower seeds, or wild bulbs etc, are collected from various countries abroad, often hundreds or thousands of miles away. Some of the plants may not grow naturally in Britain at all, and others will be different varieties or strains that may be invasive or fail to thrive. Many will interbreed with our own plants, and they may well dilute the local gene pool and end up destroying the local ones. This has already happened with the native Daffodil, which is now so contaminated with cultivated or foreign ones that the truly wild ones have almost gone. Similarly, the introduced Spanish bluebell has escaped from gardens so much that it may be spreading its genes into the native bluebells.

Some seedsmen supply wild flower seeds labelled ‘local provenance’ which means the seeds were collected in Britain from British plants. These may be hard to find, but suppliers often advertise in conservation magazines, like the ‘Natural World’ from the County Wildlife Trusts. These seeds are much less damaging. Even so, if they are not already growing in the wild near you, they will probably not flourish, or even may not appear at all, if the place where they are scattered is not entirely suitable.

If you want to enrich the wild flowers in a small area, it is much better to collect wild flower seeds from your local area. Click on the link below for more information: