En Español

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 06, 2007

From: Burlington, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Wildflowers
Title: Seed regrowth through mulch
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants: I have planted a perennial and wildflower garden and would like to put mulch down to control the weeds and retain moisture. Will the plants that drop their seeds be able to re- seed through the mulch and can the perennials spread. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

Well, see, when you put that mulch down to control weeds, you are also controlling seeds that you want to sprout. The function in that respect is to cut off light from the seedlings, thus keeping them from developing. Certainly, the perennials will be able to spread by clumping, or growing from the roots. You would then get more plants by dividing the clumps every couple of years.

If you want to grow plants from seeds, you really have two choices. One is to plant seeds in flats, then transplant to four-inch pots and then put them in the ground when they have a good root system. The other is to forget about the mulch.

If you decide to go with planting seeds in flats, go to this Arizona Cooperative Extension site, which gives you excellent information on all the steps to take.

Mulch is very attractive and a good mulch will decompose and help the soil. But, weeds do still manage to come up, and the mulch will need to be replaced from time to time, as it either decomposes or washes off in hard rains. In your climate, you may need the mulch to protect the roots of your perennials over the winter. So, it's your choice.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Spreading bluebonnets in pasture from Ledbetter TX
April 29, 2013 - I've found a small patch of bluebonnets in my back pasture in Ledbetter, tx. What is the best method of encouraging their spread across the pasture? I've heard that one can pull up the plants and ...
view the full question and answer

Caring for a wildflower meadow in Austin, TX.
March 22, 2016 - We have a meadow full of wildflowers in the country, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, etc. What can we do to promote continued growth and is there a certain time of year we should mow? Should we fe...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Garden for a June wedding in Pepper Pike OH
February 24, 2013 - Greetings, We have a grand idea to plant a wildflower garden for an outdoor wedding in June. Located in Pepper Pike, Ohio at the home of the groom. They have a large property and we wondered what woul...
view the full question and answer

Is common milkweed considered endangered from Woburn MA
February 08, 2010 - Is common milkweed, a food source for monarchs, considered federally protected, endangered, rare or threatened? Does any state protect common milkweed? It would be nice; if not, if state parks and nat...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 22, 2004 - My Bluebonnets have taken over my flowerbed. Are there plants that can be planted along with Bluebonnets in a flowerbed?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center