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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.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Sunday - February 23, 2014

From: Westlake Village, CA
Region: California
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: What do wildflower seeds look like from Westlake Village CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I collect seeds from my wild flower garden but can't always tell what part of the dried flower is the actual seed that will reproduce. Is there a resource that shows the seed part of flowers? Thanks!

ANSWER:

This is the sort of thing that many gardeners have to learn from experience. Since the experience of this Mr. Smarty Plants Team member has all been in Texas, and you are in California, we will find you some reference material that will help you more than we can.

Begin with this excellent article from Fine Gardening Magazine Starting Wildflowers from Seeds. This has three pages of information, several other links, and some videos you can watch, so it's a good place to start. Next, read this   "Plant Propagation from Seed" from Virginia Cooperative Extension.

To get information on the specific wildflowers you are growing, go to our Native Plant Database, and type in the name of the flower you are growing in the "scientific or common name" bar. This will take you to our webpage on that plant, each of which will also have Propagation Instructions and Growing Conditions which will be important to your success in growing the plantings, in terms of amount of sunshine needed, moisture and soils.We found three wildflowers native to your area that also had pictures of the seeds. Clicking on the seed pictures will give you an enlarged view.

After reading the reference material we have provided, and seeing pictures of some seeds, you should be able to figure out what the seeds look like and how to treat them.

Sample Native Southern California Wildflowers:

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

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