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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 - April 06, 2012

From: Valley Mills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Wildflowers
Title: Flowers for Fall in Bosque County from Valley Mills TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What Wildflowers could we plant in Bosque County area to bloom in the Fall?

ANSWER:

It's getting a little late to be planting wildflowers even for Fall bloom, but we will try to find some for you to try. Ordinarily, we recommend that wildflower seeds be planted at the same time that the flowers in the wild drop their seeds. Perennials will not bloom until the second season, anyway, so you are talking annuals. Annuals grow and bud quickly, when the weather is cooperating, bloom and set seeds. Once those seeds are dropped, the plant has finished with its Prime Directive, which is to reproduce, and ordinarily the plant then dies. Hopefully, the next year, the seeds left in the ground from the previous season will come up in greater numbers, and go through the same procedure.

From our online list Wildflowers of Central Texas  we will look at the sidebar on the righthand side of the page and select on bloom times of September, October and November. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant. Sometimes, there are directions on how and when to plant seeds. We will check them to see if we can find out if any can be planted by the end of April and you can hope to have flowers by Fall.

If you are planning a Fall wedding, a garden at the background, your best chance is to purchase bedding plants and get them in the ground now. If your thought was just to begin a Fall garden, then you can plant seeds of any of these in November or thereabouts and the annuals will bloom in the Fall of 2013, while the perennials will bloom in 2014. Some perennials can be propagated by cuttings of existing plants in November and would probably begin to bloom the next year.

The plants that bloom in the Fall have usually been blooming since March to May, which means this is NOT their seeding time. There were exactly 2 annuals that fit the bill: Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan), which blooms from June to October and Eustoma exaltatum (Catchfly prairie gentian), blooming from May to October. This means that those plants are very likely up, after putting out their seeds probably in November.

Perennials for a Fall garden:

Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed) - blooms March to October 

Calylophus berlandieri (Berlandier's sundrops blooms March to September

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth dayflower) - March to October

Glandularia bipinnatifida (Purple prairie verbena) - May to October

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) - May to October

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) - March to November

Ratibida columnifera (Mexican hat) - May to October

Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) - April to October

 

From the Image Gallery


Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Catchfly prairie gentian
Eustoma exaltatum

Antelope-horns
Asclepias asperula

Berlandier's sundrops
Calylophus berlandieri

Dayflower
Commelina erecta

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera


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