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

Reason for small winecup flowers (Callirhoe sp.)
May 25, 2007 - I purchased some winecup seeds from a wildflower seed company and planted them this past autumn. I live in the northcentral Texas area. This spring, several of the seeds sprouted but they had tiny lav...
view the full question and answer

A bounty of options for planting natives in Hockley Texas
April 21, 2011 - I have about 1 acre of land in Hockley Texas, outside Houston, that we had cleared of shrubs and poison ivy. We kept the trees so there are some areas with mostly shade and some areas with partial su...
view the full question and answer

Spanish name for bluebonnet
May 14, 2008 - What is the Spanish name for bluebonnet? They were in Texas before any other Europeans and must have named the flower. I cannot find it anywhere.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Need help with a Coreopsis eating beetle in Shiro, TX
April 20, 2011 - Mr.Smarty Plants,(Sorry, I kept messing up with my emails) Anyway, here goes: I usually have a beautiful meadow full of lanceleaf coreopsis blooming by now. Not this year. I found to my horror every s...
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