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
6 ratings

Sunday - July 24, 2016

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding
Title: Sequence of Seeding Wildflowers and Grasses in Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

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 what order should I plant - wildflowers in the fall and then grasses in the spring; grasses in the spring and then wildflowers in the fall; or both of them, either in fall or spring?

ANSWER:

The Texas Department of Transportation has a good information sheet on seeding wildflowers on their website. They say "By and large, most Texas wildflowers should be planted in late summer or early fall, especially bluebonnets."

Also, the Wildflowers in Bloom website maintained by Dan Lineberger and Jerry Parsons has a lot of good tips about growing wildflowers that they have obtained from Wildseed Farms.

For information about seeding native grasses, take a look at the Native Prairies Association of Texas website where they have a page from their Tallgrass Restoration Manual. While most of their information is for large scale restoration, they do discuss the four prairie grasses and explain how to make seedballs - a fun way to seed.

They say ... Once the seedballs are dry, throw out by hand at the restoration site.  The clay will protect the precious seed until rain arrives, then the seedball will melt and the seed will germinate.  The clay will also keep the seed in place if the rain turns into a ‘gully-washer’.

So the timing of sowing your grasses is not as critical as with the wildflowers.

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

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

Growing Sophora gypsophila from seed
April 23, 2008 - Sophora gypsophila B.L. Turner & Powell Do you have any information on growing this small tree from seed? I have a few seeds and would like to try. What conditions break seed dormancy? I have grown ...
view the full question and answer

When to Collect Rudbeckia triloba Seed?
September 13, 2014 - How soon after flowering may I cut Rudbeckia triloba flower heads to save seeds? Do cones need to be attached to the plant in or out of the ground to continue to mature?
view the full question and answer

Starting Antelope Horn Milkweed Seeds
March 08, 2013 - I recently found a sealed plastic bag containing milkweed seeds in a cabinet drawer that I had gathered more than a year ago, (maybe two years ago). These are the "antelope horn" milkweed I think it...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

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