Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Friday - October 13, 2006

From: Hubbardston, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Survivability of Texas wildflower seeds in Zone 5A or 5B
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are the recommended hardiness zones for Texas wildflowers? Could these seeds survive in a 5A and 5B climate? If so, when would be the correct time to plant seeds for zone 5A/5B?

ANSWER:

The majority of Texas lies in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-11, with only the northern part of the Panhandle region in zone 6. It will depend on the wildflower, of course, but Texas wildflower seeds that were produced from plants growing in Texas are most likely adapted to Hardiness Zones 8 or higher. Additionally, cold hardiness is not the only consideration for ensuring successful plants. Soil composition, day length, and other climatic conditions (such as the range of humidity and the prolonged summer heat) are important in determining when and if seeds will germinate and if the plants will thrive. Even with wildflowers that have a wide distribution such as Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) seeds from plants grown in Texas are not likely to do as well in Massachusetts as seeds from plants that grew in Massachusetts. Natural selection will have favored more cold hardy plants from the Massachusetts seeds than from the Texas seeds. Certainly, Texas's most famous wildflower, the Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is likely to grow poorly, if at all, in Massachusetts. The Northeast has some beautiful wildflowers of its own that are adapted to the soil, the cold and other climatic conditions of the region. Your best bet for beautiful wildflowers next spring and summer is to plant those native to your region.

The best time to plant wildflower seeds in any area is when they are planted by nature itself. For most wildflowers this occurs late summer through late fall. Many seeds need a period of cold to break their dormancy so that the spring warmth and rains instigate germination. Some seeds will germinate and grow if planted in the spring rather than the fall, but usually they come up several weeks later than those that were planted in the fall.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Identity of maroon flower taking over bluebonnets
April 14, 2008 - there is a maroon colored flowering weed at my ranch in Oakwood Texas. It is taking over the bluebonnets and indian paint brushes. Can you tell me what it is and how to get rid of it.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower guides
December 07, 2004 - Can you recommend a field guide to Texas plants?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Lawn for Round Rock, TX
March 04, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live on the west side of Interstate 35 in Round Rock. I have a very sick St. Augustine lawn that I would like to replace with some sort of wildflower mix. I like the look of...
view the full question and answer

Identity of sunflower
November 02, 2012 - I am not able to find how to post a picture to help you identify a plant on our campus. I believe the plant I am trying to identify is a rough sunflower. (Helianthus hirsutus) We have zexmenia as ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.