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 - February 28, 2012

From: Bayside, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How do I plant seeds harvested from my flower bed?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

In early Spring of 2011 I planted a new raised bed 75'x4' in size, with wildflower seeds obtained from a commercial nursery in Corpus Christi. I was taken back by their cost relative to the volume of seeds. However, the results were spectacular. The blossoms attracted hummingbirds, a wide assortment of butterflies, and tons of honey bees, all of which pleased me to no-end. In late Fall after petal fall, I harvested the dried seeds. Mr. Plants, are there special instructions for planting them? I believe that in the wild, the seeds would just fall to earth and germinate when the combination of moisture and temps were reached.

ANSWER:

After harvesting your own seeds, you may have an appreciation for the cost of seed from commercial suppliers. Its fairly labor intensive.

You can plant your harvested seeds just like you planted the  store-bought seeds that you had last Spring. Some (maybe all) will germinate, and some will not. Your thoughts about seeds in the wild are mostly true. The thing you are not taking into account is the phenomenon of dormancy that some seeds exhibit. There are certain environmental conditions other than moisture and temperature that must be met before certain seeds will germinate. This article from Virginia Tech Extension does a good job of explaining the different aspects of seed germination  The seeds that you got from the supplier had been treated to remove the dormancy inhibitors.

Click here for more information about seed germination.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Flowers for an August wedding in Driftwood TX
March 25, 2012 - For an August 4th wedding in Driftwood, Texas we want fragrant flowers and wildflowers that we can grow in our garden. We have four raised beds (12 ft. x 6 ft.) in a fenced area in which we've grown ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for full sun and low maintenance
May 13, 2006 - I have volunteered to plant flowers/bushes around a sign at my church. I want to plant indigenous plants so the maintenance is low but I also want attractive plants. The soil is clay and the locatio...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Turk's cap in Midland TX
September 08, 2009 - My turk's cap won't make flowers. It has daily watering via irrigation system, and soft amended soil. The plant is beautiful and thriving, but no flowers. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
view the full question and answer

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