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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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Tuesday - October 01, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Growing Texas wildflowers indoors for a March wedding from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have learned so much from this site! Thank you! I am getting Married this March and I am hoping to use Texas wildflowers for the centerpieces. I hope to grow them in containers indoors and have the live blooms displayed at our wedding. Do y'all have any tips for growing wildflowers indoors? Also, when should I sow the seeds? Would it still be during fall?

ANSWER:

How we love to hear from brides who love wildflowers! How we hate the answers we have to give them. We have answered questions with a similar theme many times, and rather than say it all again, we ask that you read these previous answers to get the awful truth:

Denver CO

October wedding North Central Texas

Driftwood, TX

Ft. Worth TX

The above are just four of the 55 answers we got when we searched on answered questions with the keyword "wedding" in Mr. Smarty Plants. We don't know what particular wildflowers you are interested in growing in pots, but since the iconic Texas wildflower Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) blooms best in late March and early April, allow us to use it as an example. You can follow that plant link to our webpage on it and from that page we would like to give you a couple of quotations:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Limestone/chalky, Sandy Loam, Limestone-based, Calcareous, Sandy, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche"

"Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by sowing seed or planting seedlings in fall.
Seed Collection: Allow the bluebonnet to reseed itself by leaving the seed pods intact on the plant until they turn from yellow to brown.
Seed Treatment: Scarification will hasten germination. Put seeds in the freezer overnight and then douse with boiling water to crack seedcoats. Soaking seeds overnight is also effective. Drain water, add rhizobium, and plant.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Plants doing poorly sometimes respond to additional rhizobium applications."

In a nutshell, not even artificial lights will cause bluebonnets in pots to prosper. They are used to alkaline soils and lots of sun, real sun, 6 or more hours a day. The same is also true for just about every other wildflower that would be blooming that time of year. There are, of course, places where you can have weddings in beautiful gardens where the wildflowers are cultivated and  blooming in the ground. The Wildflower Center, itself, has this service, but reservations for for the desired months of best bloom often must be made months to years in advance. We are not keeping secrets from you, honest, but potted wildflowers grown indoors are impractical if not totally impossible.

 

 

 

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