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

Transplanting a young lilac
November 05, 2012 - This past spring I planted a hybrid lilac in the ground. The weather here has started to get cold, and much more so at night. Also, the temperatures go from warm to cold and back again as if unsure wh...
view the full question and answer

Planting yucca seeds in Illinois
August 17, 2008 - My neighbor gave me a few pods (5) off of her Yucca plant which have lost its bloom for the year, how do I transplant them, in the ground or root them in water first?
view the full question and answer

Cuttings from beautyberry from Stockport OH
May 22, 2014 - My beauty berry is starting a new growth about 2ft from main plant, can I dig this and part of the root without hurting the main part, if so, when?
view the full question and answer

Seedlings from established plants in Parma Hts., OH
August 02, 2010 - I have 20 yr old shrubs and hedges along my back yard. I don't know their variety. How do I keep the seedlings from encroaching in my lawn? The seedlings have sprouted 3 feet into the lawn. Any ide...
view the full question and answer

Cultivation of Gossypium hirsutum, Upland Cotton
February 08, 2006 - I got a cotton boll (seeds and all) at a spinning workshop. I spun the cotton and the lady who brought the cotton boles said the seeds could be planted and the plant could be grown in a container on ...
view the full question and answer

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