It may now be fall, and while you may have thoughts of Halloween and Thanksgiving in your head, Mother Nature is already thinking about next spring when it comes to wildflower season. Ask any gardener, and they’ll tell you that here in Oklahoma, NOW is the time to start scattering seeds for a spring bloom.
So, why exactly do we plant during the fall? Establishing from seed requires good weather, and just the right amount of patience. The biggest advantage however is that the earlier you seed, the earlier the bloom. When seeding in the fall, you give the seed time to “settle” into the soil. From a visible standpoint, you may not see much, but underground, the seed is laying down a healthy root system. Second, the seed will know when the time is right to bloom, rather than when you think it’s right to bloom by waiting to seed in the spring. (Different species require different temperature. What you may think as being too chilly for seed germination, may be just perfect for your seed to grow.) And third, spring chores can suddenly arise and leave us with weekends that are far too busy for us to accomplish much in the gardens. I know it sounds silly, but I have always looked at this as being a good reason to seed in the fall. In the spring, the weather improves, we start to come out of our hibernation, and next thing we know, it’s April and you still have a pack of seeds at home. By now, it’s too late to enjoy a good bloom. Because by the end of May and beginning of June, most wildflowers are going to seed. Remember, once it gets too hot, your wildflowers will call it quits.And, you need a good 30-45 days for a decent bloom.
Oh, and for those wondering, I took the above picture this past spring in Throckmorton County, Texas. The Indian Blankets were going bonkers. The reason? Because of all the wet weather we had at the end of the fall season and the cold and wet conditions produced during the winter. Having lived in Texas for as long as I did, I don’t recall seeing such a good flower season down there as I did last spring.