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
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

QUESTION:

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)?

ANSWER:

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

Native plants growing between Eagle Pass and Del Rio, TX
October 25, 2005 - I have just bought an acre near Quemado, Texas. That's about halfway between Eagle Pass and Del Rio. I'd like to know what the native plants for this area are, especially colorful flowers for the ...
view the full question and answer

History of the Texas Bluebonnet
March 12, 2008 - Hi, I'm working on an article for a newspaper and wondered if you could point me in the right direction to find out the history of the bluebonnet. When did it become the state flower? Is it really il...
view the full question and answer

Blooms as far as the eye can see
March 06, 2008 - Why are some wildflowers capable of putting on spectacular sweeps of blooms "for as far as the eye can see" such as Indian paintbrush at Vail Pass in Colorado, or bluebonnets in the Texas hill count...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for caliche soil
March 06, 2007 - What kind of wildflower seeds can I plant on caliche soil. No water, other than rain, with some deer grazing.
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of a wildflower garden in Covington, GA
July 28, 2010 - I have a small wildflower meadow in my backyard in southern Newton County, Georgia. The area has a 17% slope and is surrounded by mixed a stand of hard and soft woods. This year the spring and early...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center