Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 04, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Wildflowers
Title: What is wrong with the bluebonnets?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This doesn't seem to be a very good year for bluebonnets. What's up with that?

ANSWER:

Sorry 'bout that. You're absolutely right that the bluebonnets are not as spectacular as they were last year. But, think back, the year before that, they were even less impressive. The nature of native wildflowers is that they are programmed to survive. When there is rain in sufficient amounts, the seeds in the ground, some of which may have been there for years, come popping up as quickly as they can. The drive is to reproduce and to permit the species to survive. So, last year, they came up, they bloomed, and we all marvelled. Then, they seeded out, and died. And the appropriate amount of rain at the appropriate time didn't happen this year. Spoiled by last year, the wildflower lovers are sulking some this year. But those seeds are still there, still waiting. It may be next Spring, it may be two or three years, but the seeds will get the rain and germinate and we'll have another great year for bluebonnets. In the meantime, enjoy all the wildflowers that are blooming and will bloom all year. We're awful lucky to be in Texas!

 

From the Image Gallery


Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Leavenworth's eryngo
Eryngium leavenworthii

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Tahoka daisy
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Kunth's evening-primrose
Oenothera kunthiana

Annual phlox
Phlox drummondii

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium

Texas indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa

More Wildflowers Questions

Smarty Plants on Wildflower Meadow Gardening
September 16, 2005 - Good morning! I want to overseed a buffalo lawn that has been down for about a year with a wildflower mix, how would you recommend that we prepare the site.
view the full question and answer

Peak time for bluebonnets to bloom in 2009
June 12, 2008 - Any idea when we can look for the bluebonnets to appear in 2009? Trying to have a reunion and want to see bluebonnets for the out of staters!!
view the full question and answer

Curling, Red Leaves on Gaura
July 18, 2013 - My gaura had most of its lower leaves turn red and then fall off. It is July now, I bought and planted it in May where it seemed to do really well growing several more inches tall and blooming nicely....
view the full question and answer

Requirements to grow Lupinus albifrons
October 07, 2008 - What is required to grow Lupinus albifrons? Temp., soil mix, alkaline or acid, etc.?
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Milkweed in MA
January 23, 2016 - I have found every year a black/red caterpillars on my milkweed. They eat everything! I have never been able to find out what they are or how to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.