How To Grow Yellow Rattle?

Yellow rattle is a beautiful wildflower, beloved of many pollinators, and as such it is a great addition to your garden to help your other plants – as well as lending a little beauty of its own! If you have been scratching your head and wondering how to grow yellow rattle, you have come to the right place – read on for our best tips and suggestions.

When To Sow Yellow Rattle?

when to sow yellow rattle

All plants should be sowed in the spring, right? After all, that’s when the most growth and development takes place?

Well, yes in general – but there are some plants which are an exception to this rule, and yellow rattle is one of these!

Yellow rattle seeds must be sown in the autumn or winter. Although this seems counter intuitive, there is a definite reason for this.

This plant actually needs a long, cold period in order for the seeds to germinate – if they don’t get this then they will likely not start to sprout at all.

You can mimic these conditions by placing your seeds in the fridge or even the freezer, to trick them into thinking they have gone through winter!

However, growers have noted that this is simply not as effective as sowing them outdoors when the conditions are cold enough.

Just spread them over your prepared patch in the late autumn or early winter, and you should be rewarded with seedlings in the spring.

Here’s a useful video, telling you about the hows and whens of sowing yellow rattle, with a few useful tips:

How Long Does Yellow Rattle Take To Grow?

This plant can be a tricky one, compared to some others – sorry to inform you of this! It can take a little while to grow and to become established.

Yellow rattle is less predictable than many other plants – generally you sow, watch seedlings sprout which then grow into established plants.

Yellow rattle can take as long as two years to become fully established, and this depends on the sowing conditions, the health of the seeds, and the conditions after the sowing.

  1. You will need to ensure that there are gaps which the plant can grow through; although it suppresses grass when established, it needs space to grow initially.
  2. Seeds must be scattered in the autumn, as they need a long period of cold in order to germinate.
  3. Sow more seeds the first year that your yellow rattle grows, to fill in any potential gaps that may occur.
  4. Ensure that the seeds have plenty of water, and a good clear space for growing in, as they will not be able to compete with too many tall plants.

This article will tell you everything you need in order to have a successful crop of yellow rattle.

Can You Grow Yellow Rattle In Pots?

These pretty little plants are best at growing in the wild, where they can parasite the roots of another plant to get their nutrients.

However, there is nothing to stop you starting off your seedlings in pots – in fact, this may give them the best chance at survival.

  • Put some quality potting soil into small pots of seed trays, and mist the surface well so it is moist.
  • Sprinkle the seeds onto the surface of the soil, and press them in very lightly – they won’t need to go too deep.
  • Water them in well, then wait a few days until you see green shoots starting to sprout.
  • Pot the seedlings on into larger pots to grow them on and to help them become stringer.
  • Once they are well established, you can plant your yellow rattle in the garden – just make sure they are nearby some other plant whose roots they can latch onto.
  • You can keep them in pots, if you don’t have space in the garden, but remember that they will need another plant or two in with them so they can get nutrients, and they will do far better in the ground.

What Kind Of Soil Does Yellow Rattle Like?

Unlike many plants, yellow rattle really does not like rich, fertile soil. It does much better in poor, scrubby soil or compost.

You can either remove the top 6 inches of topsoil to remove some of the nutrients, or plant nutrient hungry plants to suck up the goodness.

Mustard plants are great at removing nutrients from the soil, so you can grow these for a year before removing them to plant your yellow rattle.

Try to remove as much plant matter from the area as possible – raking up any debris after you have weeded is ideal.

You should definitely not add fertilizer to your yellow rattle bed – these plants will not thank you for it!

Is Yellow Rattle Invasive?

Is Yellow Rattle Invasive

Although it can be frustrating trying to start a yellow rattle plantation, once it is established it can be tricky to get rid of.

Once they have the right conditions to grow and thrive, yellow rattle does this startlingly well, and they are considered to be an invasive species.

If you are trying to get rid of some stubborn yellow rattle plants, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Mow the area. This will remove any established plants – bonus points if you do it before they shed their seeds!
  2. Pull up the plants. This is fairly easy to do, though you will have to keep at it to ensure that you get any stragglers.
  3. Catch them before they go to seed. If a seed is left on the ground through winter, chances are it will turn into a plant in the spring! Removing the plants before they seed is the best way of removing them.
  4. Use chemicals. Although we would not recommend this as it is damaging to wildlife and the ecosystem, sometimes there is just no choice.

So, there you have it – just about everything you ever need to know about how to grow yellow rattle.

Once you have this pretty plant established it can be tricky to get rid of it – just remember this before you plant it in your prize rose bed! Here’s my article on some of its uses if you’re interested in learning more.

Yellow Rattle Key Facts

NameYellow Rattle
Scientific NameRhianthus Minor
Light RequirementsFull sun
Soil RequirementsPoor soil, alkaline conditions
Temperature RequirementsHappy in full sun, can survive freezing conditions
Water RequirementsNo need to water as it takes water from surrounding plants
Fertilizer RequirementsNo need to fertilise
Bloom TimeMay-August
PestsGenerally resistant to pests
SizeBetween 20 and 45cm

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