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?


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

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Forest City, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Turf, Wildflowers
Title: Short wildflowers to interplant with grass in PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart


I live in NE PA and would like to grow short wildflowers throughout my yard mixed in with my grass. Is this possible? If so, what would be a good match for my zone? I will be mowing the grass once a week so I would prefer something under six inches so that I'll be able to see the flowers when they bloom.


This is actually not an easy request.  Our Native Plant Database will generate lists of plants native to your area by doing a Combination Search for Pennsylvania.  When selecting herbaceous plants that grow in sunny conditions (which we assume your lawn is) that are less than one foot tall, it generates a list of only 14 plants.  If you select sun and part shade, there are more choices, most of which will actually be taller than 6 inches.

In addition to that challenge, most lawn mowers will cut your lawn closer to 3 or 4 inches than six, so you would actually have to "mow" with a string trimmer.  All the plants flower at the ends of their stems, so one miss and the flower is gone.

Sorry we cannot be more supportive of your idea ... most meadow wildflowers evolved in the tall grass prairie so they are taller to compete with the grasses.  If you want wildflowers in your lawn you will have to plant them in swaths that you can mow around.  Check out our database and do the Combination Search; you may find what you are looking for.


More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
May 02, 2006 - How are bluebonnets used by wildlife?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on earliest blooming wildflowers
November 19, 2004 - For Spring, what are the earliest blooming wild flowers and when do they typically bloom? I know it's terribly early to be predicting these things, but any idea if the 2005 Bluebonnet crop in Austi...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets around May 21 in Fredericksburg, TX
January 31, 2010 - We heard that this 2010 spring is expected to be a great bluebonnet/wildflower season in the Texas Hill Country. Do you predict that a later May date (21st) will be too late to catch abundant bluebonn...
view the full question and answer

First to Bloom in Western PA
October 02, 2010 - What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom in Butler, PA?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on books for Southwest New Mexico
November 01, 2004 - Which book would you reccommend for Native plants and flowers for Southwest New Mexico - Silver City area?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center