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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.

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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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Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Santa Fe, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Dispersing seeds for wildflowers in New Mexico
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Here, in Santa Fe, NM, we have lots of beautiful wildflowers. What is the best way to propagate them? Can I just disperse the seed on my acreage after blooming? There is purple aster and sunflowers galore, rabbitbrush, yucca, and cacti.

ANSWER:

First, there are several titles in our "How to Articles" that might be of interest (e.g., "Large Scale Wildflower Planting" and "Wildflower Meadow Gardening"). Some species, such as some of the yuccas (e.g., Yucca glauca (soapweed yucca)), have propagation information on their pages in the Native Plant Database.

The best general plan for planting wildflower seeds is to distribute them when Mom Nature would do it, i.e., when they are ripe and beginning to fall or blow away. If you already have the wildflowers on your property, the annuals will reseed by themselves for next year. The perennials will return where they now stand and, hopefully, will spread from seed dispersal as well. If you have seeds from plants that bloomed in the spring or summer that you want to sow, you've obviously missed the natural dispersal time but they should be sown now to overwinter and germinate when the spring rains and warmth arrive.

 

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