1. Make sure seed is in good contact with soil, but don't bury it. Seeds should be no more than 1/4-inch deep. If seeds are too deep, the seedlings exhaust their food supply before reaching the soil surface. This is the most common mistake gardeners make, say seed growers.
2. Sow seed at the right time. Desert wildflowers germinate best when daytime temperatures are consistently around 80 degrees and nighttime temperatures around 50 degrees (70/40 degrees is okay too). When temperatures go lower, germination ceases. Depending on where you live in the Southwest, these conditions occur between September and early December.