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
1 rating

Wednesday - May 26, 2010

From: Castroville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Wildflowers
Title: When is it safe to mow wildflowers in Castroville, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My yard in Castroville, TX sprouted many wildflowers early in April. By now the Blue Bonnets are seeded and gone. However, I still have a lot of Mexican Blankets. My husband is chomping at the bit to mow and I won't let him. The stalks are tall and lanky, the flowers are big and beautiful. When will they seed so he can mow the yard?

ANSWER:

In regards to wildflowers, the big four in the eyes of some are the Indian Painbrushes Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush), Texas Bluebonnets Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), Indian Blankets Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel), and Mexican Hats Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower), somewhat in the order of appearance.

The Paintbrushes and Bluebonnets have come and gone, but the Indian Blankets and the Mexican Hats are still with us and should be for another few months. Checking the NPIN page for Gaillardia, bloom time is from May to August. For Ratibida, the bloom time can last until October.

I gather that you are interested in reseeding, so it is important to let the seed mature before mowing. However you don't have to let every last seed mature in order to have a good crop of flowers next Spring. The images below show mature seed heads for both iIndian Blankets and Mexican Hats. If you can hold off mowing for about a month until you have quite a few mature seed heads, you should be able to disperse a good crop of seeds. 

Just out of curiosity, does your husband have a brand new lawnmower?


Gaillardia pulchella

Gaillardia pulchella

Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida columnifera

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Planting instructions for Ilex verticillata in Wisconsin
September 02, 2008 - We have a winterberry tree and we would like to grow another one in a different area. Can we transplant part of that or do we need to start from scratch? How would we know what the male plant looks li...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Pavonia seeds
October 10, 2013 - Could you please recommend a method for scarifying Pavonia seeds? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Eliminating black locust volunteers in Rockville MD
September 27, 2011 - I am a landscape designer whose client has a very large, mature black locust in her front yard. Not surprisingly, she also has multitudes of black locust volunteers popping up all over her yard. The...
view the full question and answer

Planting orange-flowered asclepias in Austin
March 15, 2011 - I have asclepias seeds of the orange flower variety and would like to plant them. What should I do for the best success, and how long does it take for them to come up?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of redbuds from shoots in St. Louis MO
July 17, 2009 - I have a beautiful, healthy old redbud tree that I love. Every year, I find baby redbud trees rooted all over my yard, Since they are deep, I can't seem to dig them out so I simply cut them down to...
view the full question and answer

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