En EspaŅol

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
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

Eliminating Claytonia virginica in Varna IL
April 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of or control Claytonia virginica? It is starting to take over my lawn.
view the full question and answer

Reason for small winecup flowers (Callirhoe sp.)
May 25, 2007 - I purchased some winecup seeds from a wildflower seed company and planted them this past autumn. I live in the northcentral Texas area. This spring, several of the seeds sprouted but they had tiny lav...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a water collection pit in Bronson, FL
August 22, 2013 - I live near Gainesville, FL in a low rural area with many cypress swamps around & bought this 5 acres 2 years ago. About 15 years ago a pit was dug on my 5 acres to give the rainwater somewhere to go...
view the full question and answer

Is Annual Rye Choking Out Wildflowers in Austin?
January 15, 2011 - We live about 3 miles from the wildflower center on 3 acres and there is a natural area on our property that gets a lot of wildflowers. Last winter we threw out annual rye seed to have some greenery ...
view the full question and answer

List of most popular wildflowers in Texas Hill Country from Austin
January 15, 2011 - Can you please tell me the top 10 wildflowers found in the Texas hill country..by numbers, not popularity?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center