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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 - September 16, 2005

From: Grapevine, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds to be sown on roadway for wedding
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My daughter is planning an outdoor wedding reception at a ranch in Granbury, Texas, on April 29, 2006. We would like to sow wildflower seeds along the roadway leading to the ranch. What flowers would you recommend so they would be in full bloom at that time of year? Isn't this the ideal time to plant the seeds? What specific planting instructions would you suggest?

ANSWER:

While I think your idea is wonderful, your results may be somewhat less than you are hoping for. Unfortunately, there is no way to schedule wildflowers to bloom on a specific date. Even those plants that normally flower at the end of April may appear earlier or later next year. There's just no way to be sure. Weather, predation, disease, even roadside mowing can all affect flowering time and intensity.

Many of our best roadside wildflowers are perennials which would not provide many flowers the first year after sowing. Some of the showier annuals that might flower at that time are Bluebonnet (toward the end of their season), Indian Blanket (just beginning their season), Drummond's Phlox and Coreopsis. Early autumn is the best time to sow most wildflower seeds in Texas.

Another consideration is ownership of the roadside. You should consult with and get the permission of the state, county, city or private landowner of the roadside that you wish to plant before you do anything.

We have written a series of articles on native plant gardening. You may want to refer to them in our online Native Plant Library. Two articles specific to your question can be found in the Native Plant Library Wildflower Meadow Gardening and Planting Wildflowers along Roadside.
 

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