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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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Tuesday - February 13, 2007

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Best planting time for wildflower seeds in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

When would be the best time to plant wild flower seeds and mow an area where we want to grow wild flowers in Austin Texas?

ANSWER:

The best time to plant wildflower seeds is when "Mom Nature" does it, i.e., when the seeds naturally mature and are dispersed. For most of our native wildflowers this is late summer or early fall so that they come up again in late winter/early spring. Many seeds require a cold period to break their dormancy so that spring warmth and rains trigger their germination. (In particular, bluebonnets should be sown in early fall. Their leaf rosettes will appear by mid-December and grow until they are ready to bloom in March and April.) Seeds of some wildflowers 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.

There are several titles in our How to Articles that you might find helpful, e.g., "Wildflower Meadow Gardening" and "Large Scale Wildflower Planting".

To ensure that the annual and biennial species will be reseeded, you should wait to mow your wildflower field until at least 1/2 of the seeds of all species have matured and fallen.

 

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