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?


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
4 ratings

Thursday - February 11, 2010

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


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!


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!



Ratibida columnifera

Castilleja indivisa

Gaillardia pulchella

Rudbeckia hirta

Echinacea purpurea

Lupinus texensis

Coreopsis grandiflora

Cosmos parviflorus

Coreopsis tinctoria

More Wildflowers Questions

Flowers found blooming in February in Austin
November 17, 2010 - For people visiting from other states, which flowers usually bloom in February in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Need information about broadcasting wildflower seeds in a pasture 70 miles east of Dallas, TX.
April 20, 2011 - We recently moved to upper east TX - 70 miles East of Dallas. I would like to broadcast wildflowers in our pasture. I'm assuming I'll need to wait until next fall, but not sure about that. Can you t...
view the full question and answer

Is common milkweed considered endangered from Woburn MA
February 08, 2010 - Is common milkweed, a food source for monarchs, considered federally protected, endangered, rare or threatened? Does any state protect common milkweed? It would be nice; if not, if state parks and nat...
view the full question and answer

Invasive Indian paintbrushes in Grawn MI
June 04, 2012 - I have lots of Indian paintbrushes crowding my lawn and taking over the grass..what kills it without killing the grass?
view the full question and answer

Can bluebonnets be made into jelly from Ennis TX
May 07, 2013 - Are Texas bluebonnet flowers okay for human consumption? I have seen recipes for wild violet jelly,so was wondering about making bluebonnet jelly from the bluebonnet blossoms if they are not poisonous...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center