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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - April 26, 2006

From: Vidor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Viability and storage of bluebonnet seeds past "use by" date
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I have several packets of Bluebonnet seeds and wildflower seeds which have "packed for 2006 use by 3/07". My questions: 1) will these seeds be good for the 2007 growing season?; 2) how should I store these seeds until time to plant them?

ANSWER:

Wildflower seeds should generally be planted within a year of collection. Since we don't know when your seeds were collected, all we can do is go by the "use by" date and hope for the best.

A constant temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and no more than 50% humidity are recommended for storing wildflower seeds. Fluctuating temperature and humidity can reduce seed viability and/or cause them to sprout prematurely. Darkness is also important. The best place to get these three factors is to use your refrigerator. More info can be found in our Native Plant Library in the PDF file "Guidelines for Seed Collecting."
 

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