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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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Friday - March 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Planting wildflowers in spring for spring bloom
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I was wondering if it is possible to plant wildflowers around this time of year, and expect them to bloom in the spring still? I have heard that many wildflowers germinate in the fall. Are there certain types of wildflowers that might do better for this late winter planting for spring blooming? Thank you, Edna Martin

ANSWER:

I'm afraid it is almost certainly too late to plant spring-flowering wildflower seeds and expect them to bloom this April and May.  As you know, the typical Texas wildflowers, such as bluebonnet, Indian blanket, and coreopsis, are usually planted in the fall, giving them time to form good roots and a rosette during the winter.

Your best bet is to visit a local native plant nursery and buy enough established wildflower plants to make a small showing this year and plant seeds this coming fall for next year.  An alternative is to purchase a seed mixture such as the Lady Bird Legacy Wildflower Mix, which contains not only spring- but summer-blooming species.  Planting these seeds now would at least give you flowers by June.  Or, narrowing your search through the species in this  Lady Bird Legacy Wildflower Mix, you could sort out some annual plants by checking the appropriate box in the right margin.  Annual plants usually grow much faster than perennials and therefore would be more likely to bloom earlier.  Seeds of these individual species might be available commercially.  On the Wildflower Center home page, check Suppliers under the pull down menu Explore Plants for local seed suppliers.

I wish you a bloomin' good time this summer.

 

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