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
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

Monday - April 30, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Hardiness of bluebonnet seeds under water and white bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I was trying to find out more about the hardiness of bluebonnets. We own a lot on Lake Travis near Spicewood Texas. As you are probably aware, the lake was very low this spring due to a drought that started in late 2005. One unexpected benefit of the drought was a massive growth of bluebonnets in the shoreline area that is almost always under water. It amazed me that the seeds/plants would survive being inundated for such long periods of time and then spring forth in the most dense growth of blue bonnets I’ve ever seen. If you’d like to see the photos, I’d be glad to share them. Each photo file is quite large because I took them with a 10 Mega pixel camera. We also had a white blue bonnet that we found in Spring 2005 in an area away from the shore line and found in the exact same place in 2007. Interestingly there are no other white bluebonnets in that area nor did we find them in the massive growth that was along the shoreline. Thanks for being available for these inquiries.


Bluebonnets are annuals; that is, they have to come up from seed each year. Was the area underwater last summer when bluebonnets were going to seed? If there were bluebonnets blooming in the same general area last year, it is more than likely that seeds from last year's crop produced the plants blooming this year. Bluebonnet seeds are dispersed mechanically when the dry seed pods burst and fling the seeds out. They can travel by gravity downhill if there is no vegetation in the way. Also, rain could wash them downhill. I don't believe that the seeds could survive longterm submersion in water, but it is possible that some seeds floated in from another area and were deposited as the lake receded.

Please see the answer to a recent question for a discussion of white bluebonnets.




More Wildflowers Questions

Peak period for viewing Central Texas wildflowers
March 31, 2006 - My daughter lives in San Antonio now. I want to time my next visit with the peak period to blue bonnets and other TX wildflowers. When do you recommend that I visit and come to the Center for the fi...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower gardening in Leander , TX
September 02, 2009 - I live in Leander, Texas. I bought a couple of seed mixes last fall, and had wonderful wildflowers growing all along our fences, all spring and into the first part of the summer before it got way too ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower meadow gardening
December 08, 2004 - My local elementary school in Decatur, Texas (north central) has an open field of wonderful wildflowers in front of it. This year, they were mowed before the flowers went to seed. What is a good rul...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet seeds north of Chicago
March 11, 2008 - Hi My husband is originally from Texas - we now live north of Chicago. Last year he bought a whole bunch of Blue bonnet seeds from a company that said they would grow in our area... I planted enough ...
view the full question and answer

Can Texas bluebonnets grow in Reynoldsburg Ohio?
May 03, 2010 - I am a transplanted Texan now living in Central Ohio. I am tired of having to accept only pictures of the bluebonnets growing along the highways in Texas now and want to know if the weather is suitab...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center