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

Wednesday - May 30, 2012

From: Rosenberg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Wildflowers
Title: When can native wildflower mix seeds be planted from Rosenberg TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I received a package of "All Native Wildflower Mix". The package says plant in Spring. Is too late to plant now or should I wait for next March?

ANSWER:

If the package says "Plant in Spring" it may be a native wildflower seed mix, but it is NOT native to Texas. If you lived in a colder part of the country, planting in Spring, when the ground has thawed, would be appropriate. In warmer climates, we recommend planting seeds at approximately the same time that Nature drops them in the ground, which is Fall. It is too late to plant now, or maybe not late enough. This wildflower season has been spectacular because we got Winter rains, which permitted the seeds already in the ground to begin germinating. Whether the rains continue or not, the heat of a Texas Summer is not the time to be planting anything.

If the seed packaging has a list of the plants, you could search for them on our Native Plant Database, which includes plants native to North America. You can search on that database on either the common name or the scientific name. If there is no list, you might want to reconsider whether to plant them at all. One of the ways invasive plants are introduced into areas is through contaminated seed mixes; contaminated in the sense that they have seeds that are not native to an area. The best that could happen would be that some of the seeds are tolerant of local growing conditions and grow up into useful plants. A neutral result would be that nothing sprouted at all, which could be a consequence of how old the seeds are. And the worst result would be the sprouting of seeds that could take over your garden and crowd out the plants you wanted to keep.

Many wildflower seeds are very tiny and not easily identifiable. If there is a list, you can go to our webpage on each plant, and learn where it is native, how and when to propagate it and see pictures of the mature plant. For example, suppose one seed on the list is Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel). Following that link to the webpage, you would learn that it is an annual, grows one to two feet tall, blooms red, yellow and brown from May to August, is native to Texas, and grows in sun or part shade. Under Propagation you see that it is propagated by seeds planted in Fall.

If you would just like to experiment, you might go ahead and plant the seeds in about October, and just see what comes up. If something comes up that you either can't identify or don't like, don't let it go to seed.

 

From the Image Gallery


Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

More Wildflowers Questions

Information about the bluebonnet
October 03, 2008 - What other plants live near a bluebonnet? What problems does the plant face, such as people, weather, and insects?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a pond in MO
September 10, 2011 - I have a spring fed pond in Missouri and would like to plant perennial wildflowers in the area around it. Are there any that would do better or others that are not recommended? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Planting ironweed in Valley Forge
June 07, 2011 - I work in a national park and we have one population of Vernonia glauca (tawny ironweed), a state-listed endangered species in Pennsylvania. Last year we collected seed and have been successful in gro...
view the full question and answer

Root lengths of Central Texas wildflowers
March 10, 2009 - I'm looking for lengths of the roots of wildflowers of Central Texas. It would be particularly helpful to know the really long ones. Any native prairie flowers or grasses would do.
view the full question and answer

Fourth-grade research on Texas Wildflowers from Dallas, TX
January 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, Hello, I am a fourth grade teacher and my students are about to begin a project on Texas Wildflowers. Some of the information they will require is the scientific name of the plant...
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