Last Chance to Plant Spring Wildflowers

Sarah Galvan

Never mind that the wildflower seed packet says to sow in early fall. Here in South Texas — where temperatures often stay mild through December — it’s not too late to get those wildflowers planted.

Not surprisingly, we’ve had unusually warm temperatures in San Antonio. That means there’s still time to stop by your local plant nursery and purchase a few packets of native wildflowers.

Never mind that the wildflower seed packet says to sow in early fall. Here in South Texas — where temperatures often stay mild through December — it’s not too late to get those wildflowers planted.

Not only will you beautify your property, you’ll also provide nectar sources for our native and imperiled pollinators such as hummingbirds, bumblebees and butterflies. And the seeds that form later will provide food for songbirds.

You can choose single wildflower packets or plant a mix for variety. Either way, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a few color options and some plant examples for each one.

Pink/purple: Purple coneflower, lemon mint, winecups, American basketflower, pink evening primrose, purple prairie clover, prairie agalinis, Texas thistle, verbena species, eryngo.

Blue: Bluebonnets, mealy blue salvia, blue curls, spiderwort, blue flax, purple skullcap.

Yellow: various coreopsis species, cowpen daisy, Engelmann daisy, bush sunflower, clasping coneflower, fluttermills, golden dalea, greenthread, huisache daisy, Mexican hat, partridge pea, corydalis, Lindheimer’s senna.

White: prickly poppy, white prairie clover, native milkweed species, Illinois bundleflower.

Orange/Red: butterfly weed, standing cypress, Indian blanket, prairie flax, Indian paintbrush, tropical sage, cedar sage.

The key to a successful wildflower planting is good “seed to soil contact.” That means applying seed to bare soil and following up with a very light raking. Some seeds will be visible while others will be barely covered, this is normal. If possible, water the planted area taking care not to over-water and wash the seed away. To uniformly spread the seed, mix the seed with sand and then spread over the soil surface.  It’s ideal to keep the area moist for about 2-3 weeks after planting.

While this may seem like a lot of work, the display of color in the coming months is more than worth it. The pollinators will thank you and so will the songbirds!

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