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
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

Information on native plants in Canyon State Natural Area
April 21, 2006 - I am the Cubmaster for a Cub Scout Pack here in San Antonio. I am planning summertime activities for the kids this summer. One thing I have decided to do it take them on a hike in the new Government C...
view the full question and answer

Lupines annual or perennial in Zone 4b from Austin
November 08, 2012 - Are lupines treated as perennials or annuals in Zone 4b (Northeast) if they are planted in the ground? Will other native species of lupines grow in a region they are not native to? Any recommendations...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets Emerging in December
December 21, 2014 - Bluebonnets Emerging in December. We've seen bluebonnets emerging all over our property in the last two weeks. I don't ever remember seeing them come up this early. What will be the impact on t...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of replacing Bermudagrass with native grasses and wildflowers
November 24, 2008 - Are there any native grasses and wildflowers that can compete with bermuda grass to make a nativ-y wild area without removing the bermuda?
view the full question and answer

Peak period for viewing Central Texas wildflowers
March 31, 2006 - My daughter lives in San Antonio now. I want to time my next visit with the peak period to blue bonnets and other TX wildflowers. When do you recommend that I visit and come to the Center for the fi...
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