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Thursday - February 11, 2010

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Will my wildflower seeds reseed by themselves?
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I have planted wildflowers from seed throughout the several acres of my property in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Once estalished will they reseed without any help from me? The flowers include Mexican Hat, Indian Paintbrush, Firewheel, Blanketflower, Gloriosa Daisy, Purple Coneflower, Red Corn Poppy, Texas Bluebonnet, Tickseed, Cosmos, Black-Eyed Susan, Plains Coreopsis, etc.. Thanks again for your help!

ANSWER:

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower)  , Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush) , Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) , Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) , Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) , Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) , Coreopsis grandiflora (largeflower tickseed) , Cosmos parviflorus (southwestern cosmos) and Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed) are prominent among the wildflowers that blanket Texas in spring. Papaver rhoeas(corn poppy), is a non-native (European origin) which is widely naturalized throughout the U.S. This is also true of Leucanthemum vulgare(oxeye daisy) and most of the larkspur we see – Delphinium ajacis(rocket larkspur), commonly.  Since popular and scientific names of the plants you mention are overlapping, I've tried to identify species that are found in many seed mixes.

The joy of these plants is that they will reseed and self-perpetuate. I'm sure Lady Bird Johnson is somewhere out there smiling at you! They will perpetuate in their own good time and way, however. To do a little anthropomorphizing, these natives are savvy to their surroundings and seeds often germinate only when the fall/winter growing conditions favor the early survival that particular kind. Thus some years we are inundated in blue; other years are more yellow-and-red-hued. You will probably find that some species are a lot more prolific than others as well. If they return somewhat unevenly or get out-competed for a few years you might end up reseeding a species or two. And in the random cast of seeds, you'll probably find that the species self-sort so that different varieties will predominate in niches that particularly favor their ideal growing conditions.

Some of these varieties can be biennials, depending on the conditions, and  Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush) thrives by growing into and tapping the nutrients in other plant root systems, particularly those of grasses. Thus its success depends on finding a willing partner.

So – yes, you should be seeing the fruits of your efforts for years to come!

 

 

 

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