En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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


Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

More Wildflowers Questions

Visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets
March 14, 2004 - When is a good time to visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

Weeds from neighbor's yard are a problem.
May 11, 2015 - Our neighbor has let his front yard go wild. Many of these native wild plants are very invasive. How can I stop their spreading into our yard? There are too many to try & keep up with pulling them as ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

School Rain Garden in Iowa
January 08, 2013 - Could you recommend plants for a rain garden to be installed on a middle school campus in the Council Bluffs Iowa area???? Many thanks!
view the full question and answer

Schedule for planting perennial wildflowers from Asheville NC
March 22, 2013 - When is the best time to plant perennial wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center