Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 15, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Inadvisability of overseeding winter rye with wildflowers
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I've recently had such phenomenal success with winter rye seed that I'm looking for a spring wildflower seed mix to dress over the same area -- a thin-soiled and pretty bare open-sun (and sprinkler-watered) 1/4 acre section of a lawn where I'm working. I understand that it is very late for seeding wildflowers (and especially too late for blue bonnets), but wondering if there are any other native varieties with which I might stand a chance of success if I scatter seed now. Looks like the weather pattern for the next week or so will be good for this in San Antonio so there is some urgency.

ANSWER:

In general, it is not a good idea to overseed winter rye with wildflowers; the competition from the thick stand of grass simply overwhelms germinating seedlings. Further, plants that flower in the spring need more time to grow before blooming than they would get if you sowed them now. It would be better to just wait until next fall to plant most wildflower seeds. Some seeds, especially those of plants that flower in late fall and drop their seeds in winter, might be sown now, but early spring would be a less risky time for that. A good rule of thumb is to sow wildflower seeds in the same season that they mature and drop to the ground in nature.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Annual flowers for fall planting in San Antonio
June 22, 2010 - What are some recommended annual flowers for fall planting in a small garden in San Antonio? Also any help on planting and cultivating would be appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Gay Feather
September 22, 2005 - Can I transplant the flower Gay Feather any time or should I wait until the plant dies this winter?
view the full question and answer

Seeding wildflowers in Dallas
June 30, 2009 - What is the best way to establish seed for wildflowers in Dallas, TX? The area does get some irrigation from rotors. Would hydromulch be the most effective option?
view the full question and answer

When Should Wildflower Seeds be Planted in Dallas, Texas
November 28, 2011 - Mr. Pants: I have received some seed packets of wildflower seeds from GO TEXAN. How late can I plant these in central Dallas (8 a/b)?
view the full question and answer

What to plant in northern Virginia
October 20, 2004 - We have recently purchased 10 acres in Northern Virginia, and would like to plant native wildflowers on 4 of the acres. The soil has a high clay content and is currently covered in a mixture of grasse...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.