En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - July 12, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation, Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets in Hampton VA?
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I gave my mom Blue Bonnet seeds for her yard in Hampton VA. She is on a mission to have no lawn and loves flowers. The seeds say to plant in Texas August-November. But, when should she plant them in Hampton VA? And should she sprout them inside first?

ANSWER:

   That’s a really nice present for your mother.  Bluebonnets normally sprout in the fall to early winter and stay small through the winter but ready to really shoot up as soon as soon as it’s securely spring.  Just because there are harsher winters in VA, it would probably be best to go ahead and sprout them inside in an area that’s still quite chill. Central Texas normally has just a few days at or below freezing, so that’s what they are acclimated to.  It would be a real good idea to carefully read the “How-to” article that is on the Wildflower Center website.

   That said, I don’t hold a lot of hope for bluebonnets doing very well at your mothers place at Hampton VA.  That’s way out of the Bluebonnets normal range.  They are adapted to our harsh rocky limestone soil and to the climate we have here.  Part of that adaptation is the really hard seeds mentioned in the “how-to” article – only a few of them will germinate each year, and also the partnership with nitrogen fixing bacteria they need to prosper.   Here are a couple other Mr Smarty Plants answers to similar questions around the country:
Will maroon and Texas Bluebonnets prosper in Richland MO?
Will a gift of bluebonnet seeds grow in Massachusetts?

 

   May I suggest some good alternatives that will do well in Hampton VA?   We have lists of plants that are native to each state and to many ecological regions.  This is the collection that is native to Virginia.  By clicking “Herb” as the General Appearance and then “Narrow your Search” – You will have a great selection of wildflowers that are nearly guaranteed to prosper in your mother’s lawn as it turns to a Wildflower Garden. [You may want to select for the amount of sun and how wet the soil is also.]   33 possibilities showed up when I did the first selection, some nice flowers are:

Amsonia tabernaemontana (Eastern bluestar)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower) 

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel) 

Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine)

   All of these, by the way, also are present in Central Texas except for Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine), which is a close relative to the bluebonnet which is native to Virginia.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern bluestar
Amsonia tabernaemontana

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

More Wildflowers Questions

Planting for steep slope in Alabama
July 30, 2008 - I am looking for a plant for a steep slope down to a creek in our backyard in Birmingham Alabama It will get some morning sun but will be in the shade in the afternoon. I was thinking of wildflowers...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating Claytonia virginica in Varna IL
April 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of or control Claytonia virginica? It is starting to take over my lawn.
view the full question and answer

When can native wildflower mix seeds be planted from Rosenberg TX
May 30, 2012 - I received a package of "All Native Wildflower Mix". The package says plant in Spring. Is too late to plant now or should I wait for next March?
view the full question and answer

Will wildflowers planted in late December bloom this year?
January 24, 2009 - I have a home near Canyon Lake and seeded wildflowers on the property in late December. I have since read that the ideal time to seed them is before December 1st. Do they have a chance to bloom this...
view the full question and answer

Raised bed for wildflowers in Kilgore TX
September 29, 2008 - Please give me ideas of how to build a raised wildflower garden in a small back yard with 50% shade all day. I have common bermuda grass with an area of a 5' X 10' setting that will receive the mos...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center