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
8 ratings

Thursday - September 29, 2011

From: Friendswood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Wildflowers
Title: 2012 wildflower forecast from Friendswood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is your current view of the 2012 Wildflower Forecast? What weeks might be best for someone traveling from Colorado to see our flowers? We are concerned about what the drought will do to the 2012 season. Thanks!!!

ANSWER:

We wish we could say otherwise, but not too good, at least right now. Taking the Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) as an example, it is a winter annual. Winter rains are very important to allow the seeds in the soil to germinate and begin to emerge as rosettes early in January. Year before last, we had a wonderful wildflower year, because of good rains in the fall and winter. All living things, including wildflowes, have a Prime Directive to produce more of themselves. Annual flowers, which includes many of the Texas wildflowers, rush to bloom as soon as they can, and set seed, which are either gathered by gardeners or self-distributed. Using our bluebonnet sample, those seeds are coated with a protective coat which may take several years in the ground to germinate. This means that, even though we had a very bad year this year, there are still millions of viable seeds in the soil waiting for better times, perhaps for several years.

The best we have been able to determine from long-term weather forecasts, there is at least one more year of unusually dry weather in store for Texas and most of the Southwest. This doesn't mean there will be no wildflowers-we explained about the drive to reproduce-some will come up and bloom. More will come up and bloom if we have some good rains in the winter. Best of all would be continued rains into Spring to encourage the sprouting, flowering and re-seeding of later-blooming wildflowers, both annual and perennial.

If your Colorado friends wish to set a date to come, early April is traditionally considered the best time. And we would certainly invite you to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, where Mr. Smarty Plants is based. Although the Wildflower Center observes watering restrictions carefully, it is completely planted in native plants, all of which have seen droughts before. Go to the Wildflower Center main page, at wildflower.org, for directions, activities and links to information about the drought and some of our research projects.

No one is pulling harder for the Texas wildflower than we are!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower gardening for Citrus Co., Florida
March 07, 2008 - I live in Citrus County Florida, on the north central, west side of the state. I hope to start a wildflower meadow in my natural back yard. Can you recommend good wildflowers to grow, and where to g...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
August 02, 2011 - I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
view the full question and answer

Herbal properties of Dicentra formosa
January 23, 2016 - I would like to get some information on the Dicentra formosa plant such as the benefits of the plant. Is it poisonous? Can it be infused in an oil?
view the full question and answer

Late Blooming Wildflowers for Round Rock
August 06, 2014 - I thought this would be a previously answered question but found nothing in the data base. My question is: in Central Texas what can be grown for some color or interest in a wildflower area when the w...
view the full question and answer

Deer and Drought Resistant Natives for San Marcus, Texas
February 15, 2012 - Hi there, Do you have a list of plants and ground covers (deer/drought resistant) for the San Marcos area? Much as I love grass, it's impossible with this drought. I'd love to have lots of flowers ...
view the full question and answer

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