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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - January 30, 2014

From: Columbus, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Transplanting bluebonnets to garden from Columbus TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is it possible to transplant bluebonnets from pasture to garden and if so when is the best time to do this? Thank you

ANSWER:

On the time to transplant, we would say NOW. Some bluebonnets will be blooming in February, especially where you are, in Southeast Texas. The more quickly they get (carefully!) taken out of the ground and put into their new location the less damage will be done to the roots or by dehydration.

As it happens, this is not a new subject for Mr. Smarty Plants. Please see this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on transplanting bluebonnets.

This  USDA Plant Profile Map does not show Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) growing natively in Colorado County. However, it does show them growing in counties all around, so we are guessing that they grow in your area, but just have not been reported.

This, however, brings us to another subject. Consider where you are going to find the plants to move - is it in your immediate area where the soils would be compatible and do you own that pasture or do you have permission from the owner to take those plants? This may sound like real nitpicking, but taking anything, including plants, from any property - whether it is owned by the Federal Government, State Government or is a wildlife preserve - is considered a felony. You may look out at all those fields of wildflowers and consider that because you can see them, you can transplant them, but that is incorrect. We would say that most landowners would be happy to let you take a few plants for your own garden, where you will be able to propagate more, but we wouldn't count on it. Furthermore, the State Highway Department frowns on plants being removed from roadsides, both because they want everyone to be able to see these beauties, but also because of the hazards of stopping on a roadside, both to the stopped vehicle and its occupants and to the other cars on the road.

Below, from our Image Gallery are several pictures of newly sprouted bluebonnets, to help you dig up the right thing. We also suggest you read our How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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