Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflowers for NY that bloom in the first season
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm looking for native annuals that germinate the same season they're planted. There are many northeast native annuals but most of them require a season of frost to germinate the following spring. Can you suggest some attractive annuals that would work for this context? Thanks!!

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, our Native Plant Database does not currently have a powerful enough search function to be very helpful and although our team of Green Gurus is quite diverse in experience and geography there is no-one who can give you a quick answer or point you to a database/website.

You are absolutely right when you say that most annual seeds must be sown in the fall.  They are regionally adapted in the south so some germinate in the fall when there is moisture, overwinter as small plants that can tolerate what cold weather there is, to flower the following spring.  Other southern wildflowers germinate in the spring and flower happily later in the summer.  The north, as you know, is a different story.  Most annuals have adapted so that they do not germinate before winter, preventing the seedling from perishing during winter even though the seed is shed (planted by nature) in late summer or fall.  So you must subject seed that you want to germinate a natural, or artificial "winter".

A manual search of the list of annuals native to New York yields one plant whose seed does not require pre-treatment:

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Good luck with your search.  Here are some organizations that may be able to help:

New York Flora Association

New England Wildflower Society

Native Seed Network

 


Coreopsis tinctoria

 

 

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Silphium Perfoliatum Seeds
October 06, 2014 - I am trying to identify which part of the seedhead is the actual seed of the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It is hard to find images. Some show the outer, larger, flat part of the seedhead which ...
view the full question and answer

Plants in bloom in April in Stuart FL
February 24, 2012 - Can you tell me which plants I might reasonably expect to see in bloom in April of this year?
view the full question and answer

Native plant initiatives for universities in Southeast U.S.
April 26, 2005 - Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in botany at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I am a native plant enthusiast and would like to promote n.p.'s on campus. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
August 26, 2004 - This year's strange summer weather has lead to a very unusual event. I have a second bloom on my Bluebonnet garden. I first noticed the blooms last week, and contacted my local nursery to confirm the...
view the full question and answer

When can native wildflower mix seeds be planted from Rosenberg TX
May 30, 2012 - I received a package of "All Native Wildflower Mix". The package says plant in Spring. Is too late to plant now or should I wait for next March?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.