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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

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

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in Hampton VA?
July 12, 2014 - I gave my mom Blue Bonnet seeds for her yard in Hampton VA. She is on a mission to have no lawn and loves flowers. The seeds say to plant in Texas August-November. But, when should she plant them i...
view the full question and answer

Reseeding with Gulf cordgrass, Spartina spartinae
May 23, 2007 - Are the seeds of Spartina spartinae sterile? If not, when is the best time to harvest for replanting? We are involved in the restoration of the Bahia Grande section of the Laguna Atascosa National Wi...
view the full question and answer

Information about moist stratification
September 07, 2010 - I have some seeds of scarlet leatherflower I'd like to try and I read the instructions under 'Propagation' in your Native Plant Database that say "Moist stratify at 41 degrees".. What does "...
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center