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?


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

Sunday - October 22, 2006

From: Manor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Possible low maintenance native plants for acreage in Manor, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton


My husband and I recently bought 3 acres of former cow pasture in Manor and plan to build our dream home there eventually. Other than a few pesky Mesquite trees and one huge cactus, there isn't much on the land now. We would like to spread some seeds once the weather cools off and hope that something will grow. We don't plan to build anything on the land for a few years, so there is no water source, but we are hoping that some native grasses, trees, and shrubs might be hardy enough to make it on their own. Can you suggest anything that might work? Thanks!


A good place to start is to visit our Native Plant Library and read the articles there, especially "Wildflower Meadow Gardening" and "Large Scale Wildflower Planting". Fall is a great time of year to sow seeds for wildflowers and grasses. Growing shrubs and trees from seeds planted directly in the soil is a little trickier than sowing lots of small grass and wildflower seeds. You might be more successful planting shrub and tree seeds in pots and then transferring the seedlings to your property. Unless you can water the shrub and tree seedlings until they are established, this may be something you want to plant when you are actually there and can watch and water them when they need it.

Here are some suggestions for wildflower and grass seeds to sow:

Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Hairy Grama (Bouteloua hirsuta)
Texas Grama (Bouteloua rigidiseta)
Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
Plains Lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia)
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) blooms March-April
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) blooms April-June
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) blooms May-June
Horsemint (Monarda citriodora) blooms May-July
Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera) blooms May-December
Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) blooms May-September
Gayfeather (Liatris mucronata) blooms August-December
Texas Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) blooms March-May
Pink Evening-primrose (Oenothera speciosa) blooms March-July

As you will read in our article "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", we don't generally recommend planting seed mixes. However, Native Trail Mix from Native American Seeds in Junction is a mix that includes grasses and wildflowers that will do well in your Manor location in the Blackland Prairie. You can find other Texas native seed companies by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.


More Wildflowers Questions

Flowers for sandy loam and sun in Fayette Co., Texas
May 15, 2007 - Hi I am looking to know what the best flowers are to plant in sandy loam and no shade?
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 22, 2004 - My Bluebonnets have taken over my flowerbed. Are there plants that can be planted along with Bluebonnets in a flowerbed?
view the full question and answer

Sunlight needs for native wildflower seedlings from Double Oaks TX
January 27, 2014 - Last December I created a flower bed for my parents' backyard and sowed native wildflower seeds (obtained from Native American Seed). The bed is in full sun most of the day, and the seeds are alread...
view the full question and answer

Should Bluebonnets Be Planted in Mulch in Spring Branch, TX
September 23, 2010 - I would like to plant bluebonnet seeds in my flower bed. The bed has a layer of shredded cedar mulch. Do I need to remove the mulch where the seeds will be planted, or will the plants grow up through ...
view the full question and answer

Peak time for bluebonnets to bloom in 2009
June 12, 2008 - Any idea when we can look for the bluebonnets to appear in 2009? Trying to have a reunion and want to see bluebonnets for the out of staters!!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center