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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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Thursday - July 01, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds to plant in summer in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are there any wildflower seeds that can be planted during the summer months in Austin, TX?

ANSWER:

Hey, it's a free country. Via online ordering or even at the Wildflower Center Store, you can buy wildflower seeds at any time, and plant them at your pleasure. Now, ask me if you will get any flowers out of that? Probably not. The seeds, properly treated and watered, might very well sprout and stick their little heads above the soil. Then, the sun would come up on another Texas Summer day, and you have fried wildflowers. There's a reason our wildflower season is Spring. For eons, the native plants of Texas have learned to live with mild Fall weather, seldom-freezing Winters, a short but very nice Spring, and a long, relentless Summer. Wildflowers are best planted when the flowers have finished the seed and spread it around. Birds and insects eat some of them, some blow away, some shrivel from being exposed to the sun and heat. But there are a lot of seeds and some manage to hide under other plants, or go down into the soil, or be rained in, and they wait through the rest of the Fall and Winter, until they begin to germinate, grow and bloom. The time they spent in the soil, which could be years if the rains don't come, prepares hard coats (like the bluebonnet) for germination, a little rain in the Spring and it's magic time. Some people grow things like African violets (non-native!) indoors under lights so they can have year-round blooms. Try figuring out a way to make Spring weather over a field of wildflowers in August.

 

 

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