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
1 rating

Saturday - June 14, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Large-scale wildflower maintenance
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We purchased the Texas/Oklahoma wildseed mix from your shop last year and planted them this past fall. The wildflowers came up beautifully, but at the beginning of June, after flowering just one time, they started to turn brown. Between natural rain and manual watering, we have been giving them about 0.5" to 1" of water every week or two. Two questions: 1. Should we expect the wildflowers to naturally fade back/turn brown in June or is it likely that they are just not getting enough water? 2. When should we mow the wildflowers and should I bag the mowing clippings when I mow to prevent a lot of thatch/debris from being left on soil surface - ultimately we'd like to follow all of the guidance so that they come up as nicely next year as they did this year.

ANSWER:

Question 1. Most of the wildflowers are annuals; they bloom, and then begin to turn brown, especially in the kind of weather we have had this year. If you have the resources to do so, they could use about an inch of water a week during the bloom period and again in the late Fall when the seeds are on/in the ground and preparing to germinate. The reason we had such a spectacular wildflower season last year was that the rains fell in those periods specified, but the seeds are survivors, they will fall down, burrow in and wait for the rain.

Question 2. Please see our How-To article, "Getting Started", all of which deals with large-scale wildflower gardening, but the last two paragraphs, under How to Manage Your Site, should answer the rest of your questions, including those on when and how to mow.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Best time for wildflower planting in the Ozarks
April 13, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Ozarks, and have an open bottomland valley area I want to transform into more natives for many reasons. I am starting a 2 acre field of NATIVE grasses (warm sea...
view the full question and answer

Are Brown-eyed susans and Black-eyed susans the same species?
December 02, 2014 - Are Brown eyed Susans the same as the Black-eyed Susan? I've read that they are both common names for the same plant, but the flower looks slightly different in different regions. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Fourth-grade research on Texas Wildflowers from Dallas, TX
January 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, Hello, I am a fourth grade teacher and my students are about to begin a project on Texas Wildflowers. Some of the information they will require is the scientific name of the plant...
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center