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

Varieties of lupines that will grow in Zone 7, Alabama
October 27, 2006 - I have just found you and read 500 plus questions, fascinated. My question concerns plants in Alabama, is there a variety of lupine that will grow is zone 7, sun or shade? Also, we purchased acreage t...
view the full question and answer

List of most popular wildflowers in Texas Hill Country from Austin
January 15, 2011 - Can you please tell me the top 10 wildflowers found in the Texas hill country..by numbers, not popularity?
view the full question and answer

Year-round wildflower display in Mississippi
June 14, 2007 - I live in central Mississippi and I'm interested in transforming a 2,000 sq. ft. turf area of my yard into a showy wildflower exhibit that will bloom from now(July) until winter and even possibly thr...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for restoring a North Carolina pond site
April 12, 2011 - I reconstructed the dam to a 50 year old cattle pond at our high-end residential development in Charlotte, NC. There are many large mature trees around the pond but also some good sun exposure at two ...
view the full question and answer

Stabilizing a steep slope in KY
March 31, 2011 - We are building a new home and have a very steep hill behind the home. Our highlift operator just cleared it off - I would say about 15 to 20 feet in height and at least 150 feet in length. What wou...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center