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?


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

Sunday - October 05, 2008

From: Midland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds coming up early
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I purchased several wildflower seeds packages. Everything I read about when to plant, suggest planting in September or October in my area. This is what I did. I planted only about 2 weeks ago. Some of the seeds are coming up. Is this what is supposed to happen? Will I lose the seedlings to cold weather? Thanks.


See, the thing about native wildflowers is that they have adapted, over millennia, to the conditions in which they grow. You planted your seeds, probably watered them, and they thought "Yippee, water" and up they popped. Maybe a few of them will be damaged or killed by cold weather, but most of them will hunker down in the soil and come up later when the sun is out. Bluebonnets, for example, are considered cold weather annuals. They normally start coming up pretty early, have a low to the ground rosette, protected from the cold by the warmth of the earth, and develop roots so they will be ready to start blooming in mid-March. You should always plant a lot more seeds than you think you have room for in your space. Some of them will come up too early and die, others will wait out the cold weather and come up at a good time, some of them will wait in the soil, even for years, for better conditions and some of them will never come up at all.

Oh, and by the way, you should keep an eye on those seedlings. They may be weeds that have just been waiting for the right moment to make their appearance. 


More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers for leach field in Maine
October 31, 2010 - I am looking for a wildflower mix that would suitable to plant over a leach field. What plants should I look to avoid?
view the full question and answer

Flower sucession for Washington DC
June 18, 2012 - Interplanting to cover up spring ephemerals. When bulbs/spring ephemerals (camassia, bluebells, etc.) are dying back, their wilting leaves don't look so great. What can I plant to minimize the me...
view the full question and answer

When do you put out bluebonnet seeds in Bastrop, TX?
April 17, 2012 - When do you put out bluebonnet seeds?? I hear fall but don't the seeds pop out of dried up plants in early summer?
view the full question and answer

Drought and pollution resistant flowers for Rock Falls, IL
February 08, 2009 - I am looking for hearty flowers for our city planters that are both resistant to drought and auto emissions. We are located in northern Illinois. Planting is done in May.
view the full question and answer

Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides
August 10, 2006 - Greetings from Alabama, We would like to "roundup" approx 2 A and plant some wildflower (s) that would TAKE OVER. We have 20 A and over half is in mixed woods. Pine, oak, sweetgum, and ???. Do y...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center