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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - July 25, 2012

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Accurate bloom time for Mistflower from Spring TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Regarding Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum): Your site lists July to November as blooming time, while Wildflowers of Texas (Agilvsgi, Shearer Publishing, 2003) and Native Texas Plants (Wasowski, Lone Star Books, 1997), list bloom times as April to December. Which might be correct for my area, Spring, Texas, 77386, Zone 9A?

ANSWER:

You are correct on the dates from the various books and our websites. Marshall Enquist, author of Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country says July to October. Without knowing exactly who entered the information in our Native Plant Database, we think that one number is as good as another. Personally, this member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team feels that native plants start blooming when they have accumulated the energy to do so, in order to set seeds for their propagation, and stops when that energy is used up, or it has been very hot and dry, or the blooms get eaten. In more technical terms, when they are good and ready, and your guess is as good as anyone else's. Everyone researches, finds numbers or dates, and quotes that as the "right" time, but no one asks the plants.

As you will see from this USDA Plant Profile map  Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) grows quite extensively in North America from Texas to Ontario, and from the middle of the nation to the East Coast. There are bound to be variations in bloom times, due to climate and rainfall in that large a space. Gardening in Harris County, which comes pretty close to being the southernmost area in Texas, we would say that the longer blooming time of April to December would be the most accurate. If however, you are planning on a beautiful bloom for a specific time (like a wedding), we would warn you to have a variety of types of plants, blooming, not blooming, shrubs, etc. in case the mistflowers didn't get their invitation to the affair.

 

From the Image Gallery


Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

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