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
1 rating

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

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Cutting back plants after frost from Seguin TX
February 13, 2014 - When is best time to cut back native plants after frost kill? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Pruning for Spring
January 21, 2007 - When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in order to promote growth in the spring: Salvia gregii, Salvia leucantha, Ruellia (Mexican petunia), Plumbago, Sku...
view the full question and answer

Preventing weeds in kinnikinnick in Richland WA
May 29, 2011 - We planted our kinnickinick last Nov. and we live in Richland, WA, where it gets hot in the summer. We planted almost 500 of them on a hillside. Weeding is taking over our lives, to say the least. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant time for Virginia Beach, VA
July 08, 2009 - I have a friend who is not a gardener but lives on a piece of property that has a gorgeous back yard with lots of plants, shrubs and trees that are becoming overgrown. I have her permission to dig up...
view the full question and answer

Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
July 02, 2013 - We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-...
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