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
1 rating

Wednesday - November 03, 2010

From: Shiro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Planting wildflower seeds in a drought in Grimes Co. TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a dilemma, shared by others I'm sure. My place, which is in Oakland prairie, has seen no real rainfall since sometime in August, and the soil (sand, loam, and blackland clays)is extremely dry. I have seeds for lanceleaf coreopsis,Indian blanket, inland sea oats, and Drummond phlox which I normally would plant anticipating fall rains, but it doesn't look like we are going to get much according to NOAA. Any suggestions? Shall I wait longer or for spring? Additional watering is pretty much out of the question.

ANSWER:

Be of good cheer, Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis), Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel), Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), and Phlox drummondii (Annual phlox all are native to the Grimes County area. As a result, they are accustomed by millennia of experience to living even when conditions get a little challenging. You can follow each plant link above to get the specific propagation instructions from our page on that particular plant.

The Indian blanket and phlox are both annuals. It is important to get them in the soil in the Fall to ensure some seed-bearing plants next year to perpetuate themselves. The Coreopsis and Inland Sea Oats are both perennials, to be planted in either Fall or Spring. Since perennials seldom bloom until the second growing season, planting the coreopsis in the Fall should ensure that you will get at least some blooms next year. The Inland Sea Oats is really better planted in the early Spring, as that is when the seeds germinate anyway.

With or without rain, we would suggest that you go ahead and get at least some of the seeds in the ground. Make sure they make good contact with the soil, perhaps raking them lightly, to wait for rain. As is usual with native seeds, some of those seeds may wait in the soil for years before they get the right conditions and come up. Then, in the Spring, plant some more; with reseeding and perpetuation you should have years of blooms.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Coreopsis lanceolata

Gaillardia pulchella

Chasmanthium latifolium

Phlox drummondii

 

More Propagation Questions

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

Properties of Nolina species
November 16, 2010 - I bought two plants that were labeled "Nolina" but one has round leaves and the other has flat leaves with serrations. Are they two different species? Also, can they be divided or is there only on...
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Propagation bluebells by gathering seed
July 10, 2008 - Following up your suggestion on propagating Bluebells by seed..Is it possible that I can gather seed from the bluebells in my pasture? How does that work? Would I have to wait until the wildflowers a...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and germination of Pride of Barbados in Adkins, TX
April 02, 2012 - What is the root system like of the Pride of Barbados? I have a lot of new plants coming up in my beds from seeds. Can these be transplanted to a new location easily without damaging the plants? If...
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