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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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Saturday - February 21, 2015

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens
Title: Seeds to plant a short grass prairie near Houston
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I want to plant a prepared area 20x40 with strong midday sun in Houston. I would like a short prairie meadow with lots of flowers. Where do I get the seeds and is this the time to plant them as I would like growth this spring and summer?

ANSWER:

Native American Seed in Junction has native seed mixes for all areas of Texas.   For your purpose I would select the Coastal Prairie Mix which includes predominantly native prairie grasses, but also wildflowers.  The Blackland Prairie mix is another possibility with a predominance of wildflowers over grasses.  It would be possible to plant both the mixes in your plot.

Native American Seed also has a very informative Planting Tips, Resources and More and How to Grow Native Seeds pages.  Please also read our Meadow Gardening article.  For warm season grasses and perennial wildflowers, spring planting is appropriate.  For cool season grasses and annual wildflowers, fall is better although some will germinate and grow if planted in the spring.  

Below are photos of some of the wildflowers and grasses listed in the Coastal Prairie Mix and/or the Blackland Prairie Mix.  You can find photos and more information about the other grasses and wildflowers in the mixes by searching for them in our Native Plant Database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie blazing star
Liatris pycnostachya

Giant coneflower
Rudbeckia maxima

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata

Prairie agalinis
Agalinis heterophylla

Purpletop tridens
Tridens flavus

Tall goldenrod
Solidago altissima

Engelmann's daisy
Engelmannia peristenia

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

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April 10, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have the best of both worlds and the worst of both worlds. Iíve been throwing bluebonnet seeds for 6 years on our property near Blanco, and when it rains, as it has this year...
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Removing St. Augustine, replacing with native plants
October 06, 2007 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, always excited to talk to the Green Guru himself. I've recently purchased a house in South Austin and am interested in establishing a small, 500+ sq ft, prairie grass and wi...
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When to reseed wildflowers in a drought year?
October 18, 2011 - My acreage with extensive wildflowers was mowed in 2010 before annuals had seeded. Only a few returned this year. Considering the predicted lonterm drought should I postpone reseeding this fall?
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