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
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


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.


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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Need plants for a garden pathway in Austin, TX.
February 28, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for a low-growing native plant or plants that I can use instead of grass; I have a section of the garden that gets full to part sun that will have a pathway of stones. I'd like ...
view the full question and answer

How to keep plants alive in a pot beside a patio waterfall.
May 13, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a waterfall on my patio and I can't keep my plants alive in the flower pot next to waterfall. Is that beacuse of algae produced by waterfall? If so, can you please recomme...
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA
August 07, 2013 - I have a steep bare hill and the runoff from it is heavy this year. I need help with a fast growing groundcover that will help control erosion and runoff. Planting on the hill is difficult because you...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

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