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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.

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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

 

 

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