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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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Tuesday - April 01, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seasonal Tasks, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun. We didn't freeze and boil the seeds before we planted. Anyway, my questions are; why didn't more plants come up? And when is it safe to mow after the existing flowers have bloomed so that we will still have flowers next year?

ANSWER:

Although you may very well have already read them, let us refer you to three of our How-To Articles, How to Grow Bluebonnets , How to Grow Bluebonnets:Rhizobium FAQ's, and How to Grow Bluebonnets: Scarification FAQ's. In the last of these, particularly pay attention to the last paragraph-it's really not only not necessary but not wise to scarify bluebonnet seeds that are being sown in the wild. What you now have is a storehouse of seeds that will live there, being scarified by Nature, and will come up when the conditions are right and the seed is good and ready. It's only when you want instant blooms that you need to worry about scarifying the seeds. As to when to mow, keep an eye on the bluebonnets; they are legumes and the seeds appear in a long pod. When those pods have dried and are empty, go ahead and mow. Providing we get a little rain in Central Texas, you have both first- and second-generation seeds waiting to come up in the Spring-maybe not this Spring, but some Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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