En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Wildflower to succeed 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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 08, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower to succeed bluebonnets
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a "partner" plant for bluebonnets? What perennial plant doesn't really "appear" until after April? What I want is a sea of bluebonnets in March and April but when they go dormant I'd like this other plant to grow into its space and then it to die in the winter and come back after the bluebonnets are done. Does that make sense?

ANSWER:

Of course, it makes sense, Nature does it all the time. The ground is not left bare when the bluebonnets have bloomed, dropped their seeds and begun to dry and sink back into the ground. However, what naturally occurs may not be a field of another wildflower that will begin to bloom on schedule and then drop back for another and another until it's time for the bluebonnets again. Most likely, it will be native grasses that will begin to grow toward the sunlight as the bluebonnets begin to droop. Native grasses do bloom, but the blossoms are not of the sort to grace postcards; they are usually small and inconspicuous. But the grasses are as necessary in Nature's plan as the flowers, for wild animal forage, nesting shelter, seed for birds, etc.

Go to this How-To Article on Meadow Gardening. You will understand that this is not a quickie project of throwing out a selection of seeds and waiting for the picture ops to begin. It is a slow process, planting some plants by plugs, some by seeds, and removing others that do not belong there, such as non-natives or invasives. Read A Guide to Native Plant Gardening to get a better feel for what should go into your meadow. Obviously, you want to plant natives in the area, since those plants have evolved over millennia to cope with the soil, the average annual moisture, and the insects of the area. Follow the links in the two referenced articles to discussions of the specific plants that are suggested. You can't take Nature's place, but you can certainly make your own little corner of the world look natural and beautiful.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Planting wildflower seeds in Texas in February
February 04, 2010 - I would like to plant some wildflowers this month - February. I have planted some bluebonnets and they will "bloom" in March/April. Would there be any wildflowers that would also bloom in Marc...
view the full question and answer

Federal database on use of wildflowers
June 24, 2008 - Recently read about wedding planned to reduce typical costs AND "go green." One action the bridal party took was to decorate with wildflowers. I was appalled. So, my question, because apparently..my...
view the full question and answer

Can you produce hay and bluebonnets on the same field?
March 03, 2010 - Hi - We have a field that produces wild bluebonnets every spring. Is it possible to grow and bail hay in this field and not kill off our bluebonnets? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
July 21, 2008 - I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

Year-round wildflower display in Mississippi
June 14, 2007 - I live in central Mississippi and I'm interested in transforming a 2,000 sq. ft. turf area of my yard into a showy wildflower exhibit that will bloom from now(July) until winter and even possibly thr...
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