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

Monday - August 20, 2007

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets emerging early after cool, wet spring
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Typically I see bluebonnet seedlings begin to erupt in the early Fall. But this year, I began to see seedlings almost immediately after my crop went to seed. In fact, it is now early August and I have a few that have grown into plants a little larger than my fist (one is even setting blooms)! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Is this a result of all the rain/cooler temperatures the Austin area has had this summer? And could this out of kilter cycle have a detrimental effect on next year's crop (should I sow more seed this Fall to compensate for potential die off when the temperatures begin to hit the high 90's)?


All living things, people and plants alike, are dumfounded by the weather we have had in Central Texas this year. Cool in June and July, buckets of water nearly every day and then, suddenly, summer!

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is no exception. In survival of the fittest, if all else fails, come up and make some more seeds. This confusion is not likely to damage further generations of the flowers, and it seems doubtful that so many of the seeds that ripened from your crop and dropped naturally in early summer will come up and bloom this summer that the total coming up next spring is seriously reduced. Since this is an annual flower, however, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything to sow some more seeds in the normal time in the fall. Seeds are inexpensive, and those that don't come up next spring will still be there the year after and the year after that. That is the beauty and the joy of raising native plants-they are still around because they have adapted (perhaps even grown to love) the nutty weather that Texas throws at all the natives year after year.

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis



More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
April 19, 2007 - 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...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
January 09, 2007 - I have had an area in my yard where I have established bluebonnets. Since we had such a dismal showing in the spring of 2006 I was looking forward to a great show for 2007. Lo and behold I had about...
view the full question and answer

How and when to harvest bluebonnets.
April 30, 2010 - A previous answer mentioned harvesting bluebonnet seeds by pulling up the whole plant when the seed pods turn brown. Two clarifications - when do the seed pods turn brown as these plants are hard to ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

How to Propagate Mexican Bush Sage in Marble Falls, Texas
September 14, 2010 - I need advice on when, how to separate Mexican bush sage. Ours is happy and HUGE but is now sprouting from the roots at the base. Since we've been so successful with this plant, we want to divide it...
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