Wait for wildflower encore
This spring, there’s little doubt that Texas wildflowers are more plentiful than they have been for years. Acres of red followed fields of blue.
While bluebonnets are fading from view, don’t be in a rush to mow. The show’s not over folks!
As the scarlet of Indian paintbrush wanes, the pink, purple, yellow, white and multi-colored wildflowers take the center stage. You’ll want to allow these beauties to take a bow before mowing your meadow:
Gayfeather thrives June through August. It is an upright, clumping perennial with long purple flower spikes.
Also called blazing star, this Liatris has been bred for home gardens. Prairie verbena spreads horizontally with purple flowers rising above green mats. Showy, short flower clusters grow at the end of stems.
Prairie verbena has distinctive sharp-toothed leaves. Other purple wildflowers found locally include several salvias, which grow freely on prairies, slopes and rocky outcrops.
Greenthread, an annual or short-lived perennial, sports yellow, daisy-like flowers with red-brown centers on delicate leafless stalks.
In bud, the flower heads droop; when fully opened, the flowers are erect and upright. The scented huisache (butterfly) daisy blankets fields in yellow-gold.
The flowers’ yellow-orange centers are dome shaped.
Coreopsis, which sports bright yellow and red flowers in the wild, blooms April though July.
Clasping leaf coneflowers look similar to Mexican hat, but the bases of the leaves grab the stems.
They sport bright golden drooping petals, which are red-brown toward the center of the flower head.
Mexican hat is tall-crowned with red-brown drooping petals edged in yellow.
Pink evening primrose graces Texas roadsides April through May forming cotton candy-colored masses. Although they appear delicate with their pale-yellow centers, these wildflowers are hardy, drought-resistant perennials.
White bloomers include Blackfoot daisy and spider flowers. In summer, standing cypress produces tall scarlet flower spikes.
Remember, wait two to four weeks after the entire bloom period has passed for wildflower seeds to mature. Generally, when dead brown foliage obscures the floral color display, the area may be trimmed.
Premature cutting will prohibit seed from maturing, which means little or no wildflowers the following year.
MOWING HEIGHT CRUCIAL
Mow at a height of 4 to 6 inches as cutting the vegetation below 3 inches damages perennial wildflowers. Mowing at the proper time actually helps to disperse seed, allow sunlight to penetrate to seedlings and reduce competition from weeds.
For answers to your horticulture questions, call the Texas AgriLife Extension, Hood County at 817-579-3280 or go online to visit lakegranburymastergardeners.org .