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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 19, 2007

From: binghamton, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Damon Waitt


I am a displaced Austinite - As of last week now living in upstate New York (Binghamton). As I was leaving town - a friend presented me with a pound bag of bluebonnet seeds. A thoughtful gift - but I am a bit of a brown thumber. I'd love to foster a crop of them in my, somewhat sunny - except for those darn tall trees:), yard. I haven't got a clue how to get them started - or when to plant them (I wouldn't think April would work - although it is supposed to snow today!). My Mom, a real big help on the matter, said that I needed to score the seeds to get them going. Is that fact or fiction, and what does that require....? Quite frankly, life was easier when I just had to hop in car and drive down MoPac. Lupine clueless in Binghamton!


Hmmm...you have put Mr. Smarty Plants in a bit of a bind. Each region of the country has its own unique flora and bluebonnets are a unique part of the Central Texas flora. It is highly unlikely you would be successful growing them in New York's cold clime even if you were to sow the seed at the right time of year (which is in early Fall) and score the seed (fact not fiction).

Have you considered doing some research on plants native to your area by visiting our Native Plant Database and selecting New York from the combination search. I think you will find some excellent wildflowers native to your area like Castilleja coccinea (scarlet Indian paintbrush), Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone), Trillium erectum (red trillium), and Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium).

Here are some bluebonnet pictures to tide you over while you explore the New York wildflowers.

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis



More Wildflowers Questions

Pruning Gaura
February 19, 2015 - My Gaura lindheimeri is very "leggy", but is blooming well at the end of the spindly stems. Should I prune it back or leave it?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds coming up early
October 05, 2008 - I purchased several wildflower seeds packages. Everything I read about when to plant, suggest planting in September or October in my area. This is what I did. I planted only about 2 weeks ago. Som...
view the full question and answer

Native Backyard for Lakewood OH
December 24, 2013 - I would like to do away with the lawn in my backyard in favor of native plants that would require minimal maintenance, including flowering plants that would encourage pollinators.
view the full question and answer

Deer and Drought Resistant Natives for San Marcus, Texas
February 15, 2012 - Hi there, Do you have a list of plants and ground covers (deer/drought resistant) for the San Marcos area? Much as I love grass, it's impossible with this drought. I'd love to have lots of flowers ...
view the full question and answer

Few bluebonnets on MoPac in Austin
March 30, 2013 - The grass fields along Mopac from Lake Lady Bird to Southwest Parkway usually have a grand display of bluebonnets. This year I do not see any color at all. Can you help me understand what is happening...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center