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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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Saturday - January 24, 2009

From: New Braunfels , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Will wildflowers planted in late December bloom this year?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a home near Canyon Lake and seeded wildflowers on the property in late December. I have since read that the ideal time to seed them is before December 1st. Do they have a chance to bloom this Spring?

ANSWER:

That depends entirely on conditions you can't control. Wildflower seeds usually need some period of cold stratification, which is provided by normal weather conditions, in order to sprout. Germination also involves rainfall (you remember rain, don't you?). In Central Texas, we generally have the best rains in Fall, so if we had any rain this past Fall, your seeds missed it. On the bright side, wildflowers have been existing for millions of years entirely without our intervention and in all kinds of weather cycles. Some of them may very well manage to emerge and bloom. The urge to reproduce, which is visible in blooming to produce seeds, is dominant in all living species, so those wildflowers are going to be trying. In the second place, the ones that do bloom and set seed will result in more plants next year, and other seeds will be dormant in the soil until the right conditions appear. And you can always plant more seed next October or November, and by the following Spring (weather permitting) have a wonderful stand of flowers.
 

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