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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - December 16, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Germination of bluebonnets from seed
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am having problems getting my bluebonnet (Alamo Fire and regular bluebonnets to germinate from seed). Usually I soak them in lukewarm water overnight then plant in a potting mix. I am only getting about a 5% success rate at germination. Any tips on that?

ANSWER:

Go to our "How To Article" on bluebonnets for step by step instructions on planting Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet). Even if you are planting some slight variation, the instructions in the article should still apply. One method that has been tried with a pretty good rate of success here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a variation on what you are doing. Bring a pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat and drop the seeds into it, cover and leave for 24 hours, then plant. The only other suggestion we might have is that they will probably do better in the ground than in a pot. They are well adapted to being grown in adverse conditions, and sometimes seeds will wait in the soil for several years to germinate. As the little rosettes of bluebonnets are already showing up in the Wildflower Center gardens, you probably need to try to get some seeds in the ground for this year's bloom as quickly as possible.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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