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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


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.


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


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