Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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

Tuesday - December 10, 2013

From: Riverside, CA
Region: California
Topic: Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: When to plant wildflowers in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

When is the best time to plant wildflowers in California?

ANSWER:

First of all, it depends on where you intend to plant the wildflower seeds.   If you are planting in rather small area like a flower bed where you can control the moisture, you can plant them from the fall to the late spring or early summer.   If you are sowing them in a field or meadow where they will be dependent on rainfall, then it is best to plant them in the fall when wildflowers would generally be dropping their seeds in the wild.  If you are planting a large area in wildflowers, please read our How to Article, Meadow Gardening.  There are other How to Articles under the topic of Large Scale Wildflower Planting that you also might find helpful.

There are a couple of articles with information specific to planting wildflowers in California:

The Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has Links that you might find useful.

Be sure that the seeds you buy are native to California.  You can search our National Suppliers Directory to find seed companies that specialize in native seeds. Both S&S Seeds in Carpinteria and The Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley have native California seeds.

 

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Seeding success with Penstemon cobaea from Austin
June 18, 2013 - I've never had much luck in harvesting seeds from foxgloves (Penstemon cobaea, I think). Whenever I open the seed casing, the seeds inside are covered with some kind of mold. What's going on, and ho...
view the full question and answer

When to stop mowing Habiturf for seeding from Austin
November 14, 2012 - I planted a native Habiturf lawn in my back yard last spring/summer and it is doing very well. The how-to mentions allowing the turf to seed out once per year to help maintain the lawn. Is there a bes...
view the full question and answer

Sequence of Seeding Wildflowers and Grasses in Texas
July 24, 2016 - In the How To article on meadow gardening, it recommends that a good chunk of your garden (50%-80%) should be native grasses. The kind mentioned in that article are typically warm season grasses. In...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers in spring for spring bloom
March 02, 2012 - I was wondering if it is possible to plant wildflowers around this time of year, and expect them to bloom in the spring still? I have heard that many wildflowers germinate in the fall. Are there c...
view the full question and answer

Savannah Holly True to Seed?
July 03, 2016 - I read your information on Savannah holly. Does this mean that none of the berries will produce a Savannah holly (Ilex x attenuata) but will either be Ilex cassine or Ilex opaca seeds? Thanks so much...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.