Interest in prairie wildflowers has increased in recent years due to increasing public interest in environmental isssues and ecology. Before 1870, the prairie region once occupied over one-third of the land area of the United States. At present, only one-half of one percent of those areas remain. Recent legislation has mandated a minimum use of wildflowers by state highway departments on new landscape plantings. Many deep-rooted prairie grasses and showy flowers (called forbs) may meet the criteria of aesthetics, erosion control, and cost effectiveness needed for establishment on tough sites.
Enjoy your restoration efforts, and remember that successful prairie wildflower establishment requires patience, and a little bit of luck! If you desire more information about wildflowers, you may contact the Cooperative Extension service in your state. In Indiana, call your local county office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension service.
Prairie wildflower information provided by Ricky Kemery, former graduate student and Dr. Michael N. Dana (Dana@purdue.edu), Professor of Horticulture.