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?

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
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

Monday - January 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds for the next few months until we can plant wildflower seeds. Do we put a weed barrier down and then plant wildflower seeds above? If so, how much soil would we need on top of the weed barrier? Or, should we place some plastic down for now until we can plant in the spring? I am concerned about the invasive grasses returning and then needing to spend additional time removing them again. Thank you for your time, Shannon Wise

ANSWER:

We are a little puzzled about the best way to answer your question because, ordinarily, wildflowers are planted in the Fall in Central Texas. For example, bluebonnets are already producing rosettes from the seeds they dropped in late Summer, and will be blooming before February 1. It is always advisable to plant seeds at approximately the same time as the parent plant would have been dropping those seeds.

So, since some very good material has already been written by people smarter than we are about this kind of gardening, we are going to refer you to some information from the Wildflower Center and other sources on Meadow Gardening, which is what we believe you want to do. You may have to revise your timing or change your plant selection in order to fit in with the needs of native wildflowers, but once you get everything going, it should work out. This is a lot of reading with some repetition, but we hope you will take advantage of it. Here are some of the references we would like you to look at:

How-To Articles:

A guide to native plant gardening

Caring for your new native plants

Gardening Timeline

How to grow bluebonnets

Large scale wildflower planting - getting started

Meadow gardening

Seed collecting and storage

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants Answers:

Getting rid of invasive grasses

Eliminating grasses for native plants

Replacing grass with native grasses and wildflowers

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Source for seed of Blackfoot Daisy from Amarillo TX
October 29, 2011 - I need help finding Melampodium leucanthum seed. I have spent the last few hours on the web searching for them. I checked the resources in your lists and cannot find seed. I live in Potter Coun...
view the full question and answer

Horsemint for Connecticut
July 01, 2015 - Will horsemint grow in Connecticut?
view the full question and answer

Should I transplant my bluebonnets from the planter they came into soil in Austin?
April 10, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Since moving to Austin two years ago I have fallen in love with bluebonnets. Last year I purchased seedlings from the Wildflower Center but a taste-first-evaluate-later inquis...
view the full question and answer

Location of Indian Paintbrush in Lewisville, TX area
April 21, 2011 - Know the location of any spots where Indian Paintbrushes grow in North Texas? I'm in Lewisville, about 10 miles north of Dallas.
view the full question and answer

Cutting Back Perennials in the Fall?
November 13, 2013 - We have large beds of flowering native perennials that we planted around our house as part of a landscape conservation plan (various Joe-Pyes, goldenrods, turtlehead, blazing star, brown-eyed Susans)....
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center