Manhattan, KS– Many Kansans are eager for spring to start and thinking about what plants to establish in their home gardens. K-State horticulture expert Ward Upham said it is better to choose a blend of grasses and wildflowers rather than a single species.

Upham said there are a few companies that provide regional blends of wildflowers, including Sharp Brothers, Stock Seed and Wildseed Farms. He also mentioned the importance of taking care of existing vegetation before seeding.


“These plants do not take root and grow well in areas that already have established plants,” Upham said.


Upham shared the following thoughts for increased chances of success:


Planting dates may vary, but warm-season grasses and most prairie flowers should be seeded between April 1 and May 15.


“Make sure the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting,” Upham said. “Soil thermometers are often available in garden centers, hardware stores and auto stores.”


Upham said soil pH should be monitored when establishing wildflowers and native grasses.


“Native grasses and many native wildflowers do well within a wide pH range,” Upham said. “Any pH between 5.5 and 8 should work.”


Upham recommends hand weeding with care to avoid uprooting small prairie flowers and mowing as high as possible to help control fast growing weeds while preserving foliage on the prairie flower.


Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week.

Interested persons can also send their garden- and yard-related questions to Upham at, or contact your local K-State Research and Extension office