En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Wildflower seeds that drop into a sidewalk crack

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 31, 2006

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds that drop into a sidewalk crack
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

This is an odd question. I'm writing a children's book about a seed that gets dropped in the crack of a sidewalk or driveway and blooms there. Can you tell me if there are any wildflowers that it would be possible for this to happen? Would they return the following year, or be choked out? THANK YOU!

ANSWER:

As it so happens, I have an Autumn sage (Salvia greggi) that has been growing and blooming from a crack in my sidewalk for a year now. It must have gotten there from a seed dropping in the crack. It is a perennial so should continue growing there unless it gets pulled up or trampled. I think there are lots of candidates for doing that. In fact, any seed that is small enough to land in the crack has the potential to germinate and grow there as long as it receives the right amount of moisture. Here are a few species that regularly do this:

Low wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis). There are other species of wild petunia, but this one has a wide distribution
Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa)
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Several months ago our Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center magazine Native Plants featured an article ("Finding Their Niche" by Julie Bawden Davis, Vol. 22, no. 2, Fall 2005, p.22) concerning plants that are happy growing in small crevices. Although some of the contents of the Native Plants issues are available online; unfortunately, that article isn't one of them. Perhaps your local library carries the magazine.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Will wildflowers still be blooming end of March from Austin
November 20, 2009 - Hi Mr Smarty Pants - A wildflower enthusiast from Rome Italy wants to schedule a special visit to Austin end March early April 2010. Can she be sure wildflowers will still be blooming then?
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Mexican bush sage in USDA Zone 7
September 25, 2006 - I have a Mexican Sage (salvia). I need to know the care of it especially because it is a gift and the plant is about 5 ft. With the weather and the red clay I don't know if I could plant it or just ...
view the full question and answer

Survivability of Texas wildflower seeds in Zone 5A or 5B
October 13, 2006 - What are the recommended hardiness zones for Texas wildflowers? Could these seeds survive in a 5A and 5B climate? If so, when would be the correct time to plant seeds for zone 5A/5B?
view the full question and answer

Castillea indivisa as Texas native Indian Paintbrush
February 05, 2007 - Upon researching the Texas Indian-Paintbrush I have satisfactorially come up with the latin name Castilleja foliolosa, funny thing is on the plants.usda.gov site it shows that this plant grows ...
view the full question and answer

How do I grow bluebonnets in East Texas?
April 03, 2009 - I live in the Piney Woods region in N.East Texas. I bought a flat of bluebonnets and want to know if they will grow back next year? If not, how do I get bluebonnets to grow back every year in my yard ...
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