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

Tuesday - October 01, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Growing Texas wildflowers indoors for a March wedding from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have learned so much from this site! Thank you! I am getting Married this March and I am hoping to use Texas wildflowers for the centerpieces. I hope to grow them in containers indoors and have the live blooms displayed at our wedding. Do y'all have any tips for growing wildflowers indoors? Also, when should I sow the seeds? Would it still be during fall?

ANSWER:

How we love to hear from brides who love wildflowers! How we hate the answers we have to give them. We have answered questions with a similar theme many times, and rather than say it all again, we ask that you read these previous answers to get the awful truth:

Denver CO

October wedding North Central Texas

Driftwood, TX

Ft. Worth TX

The above are just four of the 55 answers we got when we searched on answered questions with the keyword "wedding" in Mr. Smarty Plants. We don't know what particular wildflowers you are interested in growing in pots, but since the iconic Texas wildflower Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) blooms best in late March and early April, allow us to use it as an example. You can follow that plant link to our webpage on it and from that page we would like to give you a couple of quotations:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Limestone/chalky, Sandy Loam, Limestone-based, Calcareous, Sandy, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche"

"Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by sowing seed or planting seedlings in fall.
Seed Collection: Allow the bluebonnet to reseed itself by leaving the seed pods intact on the plant until they turn from yellow to brown.
Seed Treatment: Scarification will hasten germination. Put seeds in the freezer overnight and then douse with boiling water to crack seedcoats. Soaking seeds overnight is also effective. Drain water, add rhizobium, and plant.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Plants doing poorly sometimes respond to additional rhizobium applications."

In a nutshell, not even artificial lights will cause bluebonnets in pots to prosper. They are used to alkaline soils and lots of sun, real sun, 6 or more hours a day. The same is also true for just about every other wildflower that would be blooming that time of year. There are, of course, places where you can have weddings in beautiful gardens where the wildflowers are cultivated and  blooming in the ground. The Wildflower Center, itself, has this service, but reservations for for the desired months of best bloom often must be made months to years in advance. We are not keeping secrets from you, honest, but potted wildflowers grown indoors are impractical if not totally impossible.

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
view the full question and answer

Problems with giant coneflower in Richardson TX
June 05, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants- I have had a giant coneflower in my garden for 2 years now. This year it came up like it always had..got lots of leaves and then withered..turned brown and died. It got plent...
view the full question and answer

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Steep slope from Charlotte NC
May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with Horse herb in Austin, TX.
December 12, 2012 - I'm considering replacing my St. Augustine grass with a Horseherb/Straggler Daisy ground cover, but I've heard that it provides a mosquito breeding habitat, especially if you allow dead leaves to de...
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