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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.

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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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Friday - July 23, 2004

From: Jenison, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on Germination
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

I just planted wildflowers and I was wondering how long before I know if they will grow?

ANSWER:

Germination of seed is really dependant on the kind of plant; in general, those plants producing seed with hard seed coats have particular requirements in order to break dormancy. This could be weathering to break down tissue that comprises the "skin" of the seed, allowing for moisture to be absorbed by the seed to aid in germination. Temperature, related to a term called stratification, in which the seeds undergo a chemical change due to storage at colder temperatures that provides signals to the seed embryo to develop at particular times of the year. Other species seed will also be dependant on climatic conditions to initiate germination, depending again on the species.
 

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