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
1 rating

Tuesday - October 18, 2011

From: Brenham, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: When to reseed wildflowers in a drought year?
Answered by: Guy Thompson


My acreage with extensive wildflowers was mowed in 2010 before annuals had seeded. Only a few returned this year. Considering the predicted lonterm drought should I postpone reseeding this fall?



Seeds of Bluebonnets, Gallardia, and many other Texas spring-blooming wildflowers need to germinate in the fall to facilitate development of deep roots and a rosette of leaves over the winter months.  There would not be time enough to do this if the seeds were planted in the spring.  A "good year" for bloom requires some rain during the winter to support rosette formation.  Of course, during a drought there may not be sufficient fall and winter rain to achieve this, so reseeding in the fall does involve some risk.  However, it is a risk that must be taken.  In the event that no rain falls during the winter, many of the seeds will remain ungerminated and will have a second chance the following year.  And if only a few plants do bloom they will at least provide a new seed supply for next year.

I would encourage you to reseed right away and hope for rain in the near future.  Some seeds have already germinated as a result of rain falling in recent weeks. Try to bring the seeds into contact with the mineral soil as much as possible.  This will take full advantage of whatever moisture is available.

Check out this Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site for tips on distributing your seeds efficiently.  And pray for rain!


More Planting Questions

How to have year round color in the garden in Fort Worth
October 23, 2010 - Hello, I'm sending an SOS for a miracle! Since planting is the best now during the fall or so I've been told for North Texas Native Perennials, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. My beautifully mat...
view the full question and answer

Safe grazing for donkeys and goats from Osteen FL
June 30, 2012 - I am having a very difficult time trying to find shrubs, hedges, plants, flowers, or trees etc. that are safe for donkeys and goats. We live in Zone 9 and have a small farm. I've had to pull every ...
view the full question and answer

Submerged paving under lawn
September 07, 2008 - I had 4 patches of rectangular areas (about 4'x6'or more) in my lawn where the grass is fine in spring but totally dies in summer. I decided to till these bare patches so that grass may grow better...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers and ryegrass in RIverside AL
February 07, 2015 - Love the name, enjoyed a visit last spring. We repaired a retaining wall about 300 ft. and want to plant wildflowers on a strip 5 ft wide. Slope gentle to 1 in 3.5. Hauled in topsoil for fill. Can ...
view the full question and answer

Penstemon digitalis not blooming in Hebron, NE.
May 22, 2010 - My Beardtongue plants are too close together. Can I transplant my Penstemon digitalis now, even though the plant is approx. 20" tall? It is not blooming.
view the full question and answer

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