En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 27, 2014

From: Double Oak, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Sunlight needs for native wildflower seedlings from Double Oaks TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last December I created a flower bed for my parents' backyard and sowed native wildflower seeds (obtained from Native American Seed). The bed is in full sun most of the day, and the seeds are already starting to sprout. Do they need a shade cloth to protect them from the full sun until they get established? If so, what percent of shade would be appropriate?

ANSWER:

Most Texas native wildflower seeds as they begin to sprout, especially in the cooler weather of early Spring, need lots of sun. We are assuming that your parents' garden is also in Denton County since you didn't say otherwise. We consider "full sun" to be six hours or more of sun a day, "partial shade" two to six hours and "shade" 2 hours or less.

We also don't know what wildflower mix you have, so we looked at the Online Catalog for Native American Seed. Following that link, we went to the Native Texas Wildflowers link and clicked on it. This has a small chart listing the soils in which this mix would do well as sand, loam, clay or caliche, and sunlight as full or part sun. That should pretty well cover the conditions you should have in North Central Texas, and all of the eight wildflowers on that list do grow in that section of Texas.

We certainly would not recommend any kind of sunshade for those baby plants, nor over watering. Remember, if a plant is native to an area, which is all Mr. Smarty Plants ever recommends, it will tolerate the conditions that are there, because that plant has been tolerating and thriving in those conditions for thousands and thousands of years. You don't need to overlove natives - they don't particularly like or need fertilizer, they need just the normal rainfall of the area except in an exceedingly dry year, and they need sunlight to permit photosynthesis in the leaves to make food for the plant. Using a mix is a little more complicated, but Native American Seed is a very reputable provider of seed. However, if a plant in a mix fails, you may not know which seeds in that mix should be discarded and not used again, so we prefer individually selected and packed seeds.

The seeds listed in the catalog as being included in the Native American Mix are:

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (Blackeyed susan)

Dracopis amplexicaulis (Clasping coneflower)

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel) Referred to on seed list as "Indian Blanket"

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm) This is referred to as "Lemon mint" on the NAS website.

Ratibida columnifera (Mexican hat)- also on this list is Prairie Coneflower, which happens to be the same family, genus and species, just a different common name.

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)

You can follow each link above to our webpage on that plant to see more information and pictures.

 

From the Image Gallery


Blackeyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Clasping coneflower
Dracopis amplexicaulis

Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Source for seed of Blackfoot Daisy from Amarillo TX
October 29, 2011 - I need help finding Melampodium leucanthum seed. I have spent the last few hours on the web searching for them. I checked the resources in your lists and cannot find seed. I live in Potter Coun...
view the full question and answer

Care for oak acorns after planting from Huntsville TX
April 21, 2012 - I planted oak trees from acorns, how often and how much do I water them?
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas bluebonnets in North Carolina
March 11, 2008 - I live in North Carolina and love the Texas Bluebonnets. Can I create my own mix of soil to be able to grow them here? Soil is basically red clay and icky.
view the full question and answer

Beans growing under artificial light from Vernon CT
May 04, 2012 - What bean plant will grow the best under a flourescent,spot gro light,green transparent light,or Natural light and why.What caused it to grow like it did?
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center