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Wednesday - July 18, 2012

From: Tallahassee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Garden planning for wedding in Tallahassee
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would love your advice on creating a Wildflower Garden Plan. Earlier this spring in Tallahassee (North Florida). I sowed Wildflowers for the first time to see what would bloom in early May. In doing so I came to the conclusion that I need to form a better Wildflower Garden Plan. My goal is to create a beautiful entrance for my daughters future wedding site with Wildflowers in front of and on both sides of the horse pasture's entrance/gate. The wedding date is May 11, 2013. I am traveling to Austin, TX in August and would like to purchase Wildflower seeds. I would greatly appreciate any tips or advice you may have for different Colors combinations; different heighths; and blooming potential. Thankyou, Mother of the Bride


We are frequently asked this sort of question; however, you are ahead of the curve in that you gave yourself nearly a year. Some of our questions are asked a month or so before the wedding. To repeat the main reaction to those questions, this is not a "throw out a bunch of seeds" proposition. Below we list some of the important tasks you will need to do and how to find information on doing them.

1. Read our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening, because hopefully that is what you already have on the portion of the property you are planning for your wedding. You can enhance it by putting out some wildflower seeds, but don't try planting any that don't belong there, because you will be wasting your time. We are delighted you are coming to the Wildflower Center in August, but we only sell plants at our semi-annual Plant Sales in April and October and they are all native to Central Texas. The only seeds we sell, in our Gift Shop, are for Texas native wildflowers and Habiturf grasses.  We recommend planting seeds at about the same time plants are dropping their seeds naturally, which is usually Fall. Be sure and read the instructions in the Meadow Gardening article about dropping the seed. 

2. To find appropriate plants native to Florida, go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, select on Florida, herbs (herbaceous blooming plants) for Habit, annual for Duration, and May for bloom time. When we did this, we found 93 possibilities, and have selected an even dozen for you to consider:

Aphanostephus skirrhobasis (Lazy daisy)

Castilleja coccinea (Scarlet paintbrush)

Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria (Golden tickseed)

Dracopis amplexicaulis (Clasping coneflower)

Erigeron strigosus (Prairie fleabane)

Euphorbia cyathophora (Wild poinsettia)

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm)

Phlox drummondii (Annual phlox)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Scutellaria drummondii (Drummond's skullcap)

Viola sororia (Missouri violet)

3. Follow the plant links to our page on that individual plant to learn its growing conditions, size and so forth. Note that the only seeds you will likely get flowers from next May will be annuals. Perennials and biennials don't bloom until their second year. Those on our list are all annuals that could give you some results by next May, and perhaps continue to propagate themselves to grace the area for a long time to come.

4. Find sources for the seeds you need. We Googled "native wildflowers of Florida" and these are some of the sites that looked like they will help you: 

Florida Wildflower Foundation

Florida Native Plants Nursery

Florida-Friendly Plant Database

Plant Real Florida

5. Check on light requirements; most wildflowers need full sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) to bloom well.

6. Because we do respond to so many questions on this subject, we are going to link you to some previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions and answers that deal with some of the main issues. Follow the links below to previous questions on the subject of preparing an outside space for a wedding. They are from different areas and deal with different situations and plants, but they are all things you need to think about:

Clearing a space for an outdoor wedding

Backyard wedding

Farm for wedding


From the Image Gallery

Lazy daisy
Aphanostephus skirrhobasis

Scarlet paintbrush
Castilleja coccinea

Golden tickseed
Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria

Clasping coneflower
Dracopis amplexicaulis

Prairie fleabane
Erigeron strigosus

Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

Gaillardia pulchella

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Annual phlox
Phlox drummondii

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Drummond's skullcap
Scutellaria drummondii

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

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