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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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Wednesday - May 27, 2015

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Seedball Germination in Dallas, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Last Fall we created thousands of seedballs with Lady Bird's wildflower seed mixture, compost and clay, and planted them along a bike trail in Dallas, Texas. We are so disappointed because nothing has bloomed (it is May 1!). Two questions: (1) why no luck; and (2) is there any hope that the seeds might germinate in future years if they didn't this year?

ANSWER:

It’s a bit disheartening that you’ve got no blooms yet, but it’s quite possible.  Consider the normal pattern of wildflowers blooming, seeding and then those seeds germinating and starting the process over again the next year.

Our lovely wildflowers bloom in the spring and distribute seed in the late spring to early summer. Those seeds will rest over the summer and germinate in the winter to early spring to flower and set seed again in the spring.  Your seeds, distributed in the fall, didn’t have the summer & fall to prepare for germination.  That might be enough by itself.  In addition, What were the weather conditions last fall?  The kind of drought we had been seeing also would serve to discourage germination.

The good news?  The seed is likely still there.  They are prepared to wait for the best conditions for germination.  When we have a good winter/spring they should be ready to go for it!

 

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