Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Forest City, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Turf, Wildflowers
Title: Short wildflowers to interplant with grass in PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in NE PA and would like to grow short wildflowers throughout my yard mixed in with my grass. Is this possible? If so, what would be a good match for my zone? I will be mowing the grass once a week so I would prefer something under six inches so that I'll be able to see the flowers when they bloom.

ANSWER:

This is actually not an easy request.  Our Native Plant Database will generate lists of plants native to your area by doing a Combination Search for Pennsylvania.  When selecting herbaceous plants that grow in sunny conditions (which we assume your lawn is) that are less than one foot tall, it generates a list of only 14 plants.  If you select sun and part shade, there are more choices, most of which will actually be taller than 6 inches.

In addition to that challenge, most lawn mowers will cut your lawn closer to 3 or 4 inches than six, so you would actually have to "mow" with a string trimmer.  All the plants flower at the ends of their stems, so one miss and the flower is gone.

Sorry we cannot be more supportive of your idea ... most meadow wildflowers evolved in the tall grass prairie so they are taller to compete with the grasses.  If you want wildflowers in your lawn you will have to plant them in swaths that you can mow around.  Check out our database and do the Combination Search; you may find what you are looking for.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
January 02, 2012 - We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds f...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
July 21, 2008 - I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcover Suggestions for Under Florida Oak Trees
April 03, 2015 - I am looking for native plants that will do well under several oak trees in Northeast Florida. My yard doesn't get much sun and I'm told I have acidic soil. Are the any plants that would do well wit...
view the full question and answer

How and when to harvest bluebonnets.
April 30, 2010 - A previous answer mentioned harvesting bluebonnet seeds by pulling up the whole plant when the seed pods turn brown. Two clarifications - when do the seed pods turn brown as these plants are hard to ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower guides
December 07, 2004 - Can you recommend a field guide to Texas plants?
view the full question and answer

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