En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Inoculant for bluebonnets

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
2 ratings

Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Inoculant for bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Where can I find inoculant for my bluebonnets? I have searched high and low. Native American Seeds does not carry it. I can buy it for soybeans in a huge quantity, but am not sure that this is the correct bacteria formulation. Is there a source that you know of? Thank you.

ANSWER:

If you read the entry in the Native Plant Database for Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), it says:

"If planting this species in areas where it has not formerly grown it may be helpful to inoculate the soil with a rhizobium (soil-borne bacteria which form nitrogen-rich root nodules) for lupines."

It is in fact, not really necessary to inoculate the soil to successfully grow bluebonnets. Rhizobium does help bluebonnets and other, mostly leguminous, plants grow in poor, nitrogen-deficient soils. Given sufficient nitrogen fertilizer and grown in reasonably high pH soil, bluebonnets will grow and flower just fine. Also, bluebonnet seeds often come pre-inoculated from the seed seller.

Unfortunately, there are few sources for obtaining Rhizobium cultures. I did find one source, Becker Underwood in Australia with worldwide production and marketing, that lists a rhizobium inoculant for lupins. The USDA has a Rhizobium Germplasm Collection that provides free cultures for research but they do not have a database of strains available. You can see a list of other bacterial culture collections worldwide. Apparently rhizobium inoculant used to be available in powdered form in nurseries, but I have not been able to find any suppliers listed on the internet. You might check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants and telephone or e-mail them to see if they have it.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for American barberry in Adelaide Australia
August 03, 2009 - I am trying to find a source/s of the American barberry (Berberis canadensis). I am interested in root stock but particularly in a supplier of the fruit (berry). I have tried everything and someone su...
view the full question and answer

Sources of Hypericum anagalloides (tinkekrs penny)
March 23, 2007 - I am currently in search of any place where I may be able to purchase some of the Tinker's Penny. Could you please assist with this in any way possible? Greatly appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Looking for Yucca filamentosa, Adams Needle, to purchase
April 07, 2009 - Where can I purchase Adam's Needle in Austin or Travis County
view the full question and answer

Gathering seeds of Indian Blanket from Duncanville TX
June 09, 2012 - We have a field full of Indian Blanket that are blooming now and would like to share some seeds with our friends! Where is the seed on them and I take it we wait till they are done blooming to get the...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification and seed source
October 23, 2009 - We drove to Fredricksburg this Saturday the 17th and beginning at about Dripping Springs there is a very showy bright yellow wildflower that is so pretty. It probably is about 2' tall. Would love...
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