En Español

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?


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


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?


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

Can I Grow Beautyberry
December 30, 2011 - Will try to be brief. Beautyberry sprouted leaves in vase of branches in water. It's NYC beginning of winter. Can I plant it outside? If not will it grow in a pot inside? Thanks. Happy New Ye...
view the full question and answer

Germination of seeds of Stephanomeria pauciflora (Brownplume wire lettuce)
February 20, 2015 - I have discovered a very fast growing Stephanomeria pauciflora on property where I work here in Terlingua, TX. At first glance it appears as an invasive weed but on closer inspection with my macro le...
view the full question and answer

Propagation by seed of Capsicum annuum
June 21, 2007 - I have always been told that the only way that a seed from a chili pequin pepper can germinate is that it has to be eaten by a bird and passed through it's digestive system. I have heard that there i...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of hostas
September 06, 2005 - I have many different types of hostas in my yard. This year they bloomed abundantly and now have large pods where the blooms were which are full of seeds. My questions: 1. If I plant these pods, o...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of skunk cabbage
December 18, 2003 - Where can I purchase root stock for a start of skunk cabbage to plant? in my wetland?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center