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 Planting Questions

Rock under space for Bigtooth Maple in San Antonio
May 20, 2013 - I just got a 10 gallon Bigtooth Maple in Medina TX for my home outside loop 1604 in San Antonio. I hit rock about 7 inches in when trying to plant it..I am entertaining the idea for a raised bed to le...
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Perennial blooming plants for Ashland MO
April 02, 2010 - I am beginning to create a flower bed in front of my house, I do not have a green thumb so I want to know what plants would come back yearly and I can plant now in Mid Missouri?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for maple tree lost in Hurricane Sandy from Hauppauge NY
March 17, 2013 - Lost a Maple street tree in Hurricane Sandy, was forty-eight years old. Town will not replace the tree. Must do it on my own. What would you suggest? Nothing that grows too tall.
view the full question and answer

Bare spot in Prairie Phlox in Austin
February 25, 2009 - I have Prairie Phlox in my garden that I have had for about 4 to 6 years. I got the original plant from the NPSOT at their booth one year at the Wildflower center. It is really lovely in the spring wh...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center