Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
5 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

Failure of Viburnum dentatum to produce berries in Maryland
September 20, 2008 - I planted several Viburnum dentatum shrubs in a hedgerow for my yard. Although I have some other viburnums in the yard, this shrub blooms profusely but does not ever produce berries. What can I do t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Silky Sophora by seed from Elmendorf TX
July 24, 2013 - I have some seed for the Sophora nutalliana. What is the best way to germinate this seed?
view the full question and answer

Die-off of Texas bluebells
June 04, 2008 - I live in southeast Travis County east of IH35 in the Blackland Prairie. We have a gorgeous stand of Texas bluebells. Last year, the bluebells would look fine, then they would turn brown and die for...
view the full question and answer

Ash tree shedding seeds early in IL
June 23, 2011 - I've lived in my house 13 years now and have a large and old ash tree in my backyard near my patio. The seed pods are ten-fold this year and are dropping constantly. I've never experienced this co...
view the full question and answer

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