Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Is Bushy Knotweed carcinogenic from West Grove PA
September 06, 2012 - Is the invasive Bushy Knotweed / PORA3 / Polygonum ramosissimum toxic to the extent that the spores are carcinogenic?
view the full question and answer

Dividing non-native daffodils from Austin
April 15, 2012 - The foliage on my daffodils is lush and healthy, but I have no blooms. Should I divide them?
view the full question and answer

Correct size for Wright penstemon from Granger TX
April 21, 2012 - The Wright penstemon pictured as your main plant, looks nothing like the other pictures below it. I realize, they can be pink or red. But the LARGE speciman out in your gardens is nowhere near the 1...
view the full question and answer

Soils for spiderwort from Round Rock TX
August 08, 2013 - We have spiderworts growing naturally in our backyard. We put a large circle around them them with limestone rock (as our beds have) to make their own bed as they clumped in one area. What kind of s...
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.