Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 01, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Reversion of maroon bluebonnets back to blue
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

In the fall, I bought a flat of Texas bluebonnets. They are blooming now, and it turns out they are actually maroon bluebonnets! Which is really too bad, because I want blue bluebonnets. Do you know if these maroon bluebonnets will revert back to wild-type blue over time or am I stuck with the maroon?

ANSWER:

Your maroon bluebonnets, AKA Alamo Fire, will revert back to the wild blue type in several generations if there is a pollen source of the wild Lupinus texensis (Texas lupine) nearby. If you have the patience and time you can speed the process along by hand pollinating the maroon flowers with pollen gathered on a toothpick from wild bluebonnets. If you take this approach, you have to make sure you beat the other pollinators to the punch (by punch, I mean stigma) by catching the maroon flowers right after anthesis (the period in time when a flower is reproductively mature).

By the way, the maroon variety is the product of over twenty years of breeding and research by Dr. Jerry Parsons at, you guessed it, Texas A&M University. Click here to learn more about the Parson project.

 

More Propagation Questions

Pink lady slipper orchids in Maine
May 24, 2009 - Hi, I have moved to Maine from Virginia--it's a new world of plants!!Exciting!! I have found 2 pink lady slippers on our property. What can I do to encourage them to multiply? I know some wild flowe...
view the full question and answer

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Turks Cap, when and how
September 10, 2007 - Mr. Smarty Pants - We have an enormous healthy Turk's Cap - not the lily, but the one with red flowers(Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii) It has also produced a new plant nearby. Please tell us how...
view the full question and answer

How to germinate seed for Styrax grandifolius
October 18, 2014 - How do I germinate seed for the Styrax grandifolius?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of propagating buckeye from basal shoots
June 25, 2008 - I have a beautiful red buckeye tree that has small shoots coming up at the base. I would love to share these with my friends. How do I do this?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.