Lot’s of you are asking, ‘can I sow Yellow Rattle now?’ and ‘what is the best time to sow Yellow Rattle seeds in Ireland?’.
Unlike other wildflowers, Yellow Rattle, also known as ‘the meadow maker’ can be sown much later into the winter. In fact the only time Yellow Rattle should be sown in Ireland is between September and early December. So, you will be glad to hear that now is the right time to sow Yellow Rattle.
Why should Yellow Rattle only be sown in Autumn and Winter?
Yellow Rattle requires a natural process called Vernalisation to germinate. Vernalisation is the exposure of the seed to a period of low ground temperatures to stimulate germination. Yellow Rattle needs four months of cold ground temperatures before it will germinate.
What is Yellow Rattle?
Yellow Rattle is the single most important plant you need to successfully establish a natural wildflower meadow.
Yellow Rattle is an annual Irish Native Wildflower that grows in grasslands. It has bright yellow flowers which grow amongst jagged leaves. However, its secret lies beneath the ground – It is a partial parasite on grass, meaning it reduces grass growth in wildflower meadows.
How is Yellow Rattle parasitic?
Yellow Rattle requires grass to draw energy from in order to grow. As the Yellow Rattle develops roots, it seeks out the roots of grass plants nearby, drawing water and nutrients from the grass. As a result, the grass plant weakens, reducing the grass in the meadow by up to 60%. When you reduce the amount of grass growing in a meadow, you are creating space for other wildflowers to grow and preventing grass from dominating.
So, If you are looking to create a long term, natural, Irish Wildflower meadow, August - Decemeber is the time to plant your Yellow Rattle seeds.