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

Tuesday - February 28, 2012

From: Bayside, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How do I plant seeds harvested from my flower bed?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

In early Spring of 2011 I planted a new raised bed 75'x4' in size, with wildflower seeds obtained from a commercial nursery in Corpus Christi. I was taken back by their cost relative to the volume of seeds. However, the results were spectacular. The blossoms attracted hummingbirds, a wide assortment of butterflies, and tons of honey bees, all of which pleased me to no-end. In late Fall after petal fall, I harvested the dried seeds. Mr. Plants, are there special instructions for planting them? I believe that in the wild, the seeds would just fall to earth and germinate when the combination of moisture and temps were reached.

ANSWER:

After harvesting your own seeds, you may have an appreciation for the cost of seed from commercial suppliers. Its fairly labor intensive.

You can plant your harvested seeds just like you planted the  store-bought seeds that you had last Spring. Some (maybe all) will germinate, and some will not. Your thoughts about seeds in the wild are mostly true. The thing you are not taking into account is the phenomenon of dormancy that some seeds exhibit. There are certain environmental conditions other than moisture and temperature that must be met before certain seeds will germinate. This article from Virginia Tech Extension does a good job of explaining the different aspects of seed germination  The seeds that you got from the supplier had been treated to remove the dormancy inhibitors.

Click here for more information about seed germination.

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Time to mow bluebonnets from Smithville TX
April 12, 2012 - When is the best time to mow the seeded Bluebonnets? I have them and Drummond Phlox in my front yard. I need to clean and trim to start pulling the large numbers of Purple Hooked Sandburr.
view the full question and answer

Germination of seeds of Stephanomeria pauciflora (Brownplume wire lettuce)
February 20, 2015 - I have discovered a very fast growing Stephanomeria pauciflora on property where I work here in Terlingua, TX. At first glance it appears as an invasive weed but on closer inspection with my macro le...
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
view the full question and answer

Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
April 30, 2008 - Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Baptisia from Lancaster OH
August 24, 2012 - My Baptisia has gone to seed. When can I plant these seeds? Do they need strat? (zone 5)
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