"A wildflower is a flower that grows in the wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted."
With such a narrow definition I wonder if the flowers in my garden qualify as wildflowers. We'll take a tour while I share my thoughts.
These bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) were intentionally seeded from seeds I collected in an undeveloped area just over my back fence.
We started with a small patch that struggled during our drought years but has been spreading quickly recently. Some reseed naturally while we help others along to make sure the patch grows where we can enjoy them.
Then they are not wildflowers? Not so fast, that also would mean bluebonnets at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are not technically wildflowers. As the Texas state flower bluebonnets are intentionally seeded along highways and public areas throughout the state so I think bluebonnets always qualify as wildflowers no matter where they are or how they arrived.
Purple Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) and bright yellow-orange Greenthreads (Thelesperma filifolum) arrived as volunteers so they qualify as wildflowers.
Or not? They started out wherever they chose to grow but then I intentionally seed them where I would like more.
The same with Firewheel or Indian Blanket flowers (Gaillardia pulchella). Here again I intervene by pulling about half of these out each year to keep them under control.
Are these wildflowers or not?
That original narrow definition would indicate this is not a patch of wildflowers even though they are clearly going wild.
Their parents volunteered the garden years ago but then I intentionally seeded them across the path.
Wildflowers are filling in the opposite corner where I scattered seeds over the last few years. Looks like wildflowers to me.
No question about Horsemint (Monarda citriodora), another volunteer and a bee favorite. No surprise since one of its common names in Bee Balm.
Bee Balm goes through color stages starting pale then going to deep purple.
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) grows as a wildflower in open areas but these were purchased as landscape plants at a local nursery.
Just one note. To have wildflowers you have to be prepared for the browning state. Those pretty bluebonnets going to seed turn brown (as seen on the lower right) and are not so pretty for a while. Fortunately, the golds and oranges take over and help out. If you want flowers next year, there's no getting around the seedy phase which is why most of my wildflowers are in the back yard.
So enjoy the wildflowers and even try a few in your garden since so many have crossed over into landscape favorites.