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?

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for Angel Fire, NM
March 20, 2007 - What wildflowers would you recommend for Angel Fire, NM, at an elevation of 9150 ft. with rocky soil and a windy, northwest exposure? Thank you for your help!
view the full question and answer

Optimum viewing time for Texas wildflowers, bluebonnets
March 01, 2007 - I will make a car trip from Alabama to Anson, Texas, in the next month or so. I would like to time my visit to see the Blue Bonnets and/or wildflowers blooming. Please advise me as to the best time t...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for limestone ledge with thin soil in Austin, TX
February 14, 2007 - My back yard is essentially a limestone ledge with less than an inch of soil on the top in full sun. What native plants can live in this environment? Since I can't really dig a hole, maybe I should...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center