Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014 - I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for October wedding from Rockford AL
April 26, 2013 - Want to plant wildflowers that will bloom in early October in central Alabama for a wedding. Can you give me any suggestions ?
view the full question and answer

Visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets
March 14, 2004 - When is a good time to visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

Number of wild flowers in Durham NC compared to all of North Carolina
April 24, 2009 - How many wild flowers have been identified in the North Carolina Area compared to just in Durham. I would like to photograph them all and want to know how close I can get to capturing photos of all th...
view the full question and answer

Using Native Plants Database to determine flowering time in Austin
April 07, 2006 - How can I access your data base to learn what plants are flowering in Austin during the months of October and early November?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.