En Español

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
1 rating

Monday - April 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Northwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Viability of bluebonnets in Portland, Oregon
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My best friend lives in Portland, Oregon, and misses Texas wildflowers terribly. I would really love to send her some bluebonnet seeds (or even other native wildflowers) but I'm wondering if there are any that will grow in Oregon?

ANSWER:

Bluebonnets are lupines, or members of the genus Lupinus. Lupines are found all over the world, but many of them are native to North America. There six of those species of lupine that are native to Texas, and all six of them are considered the State Flower of Texas. They grow here because the soils, weather, moisture, etc. are all appropriate for that particular species. Portland has a totally different ecology, cooler, wetter, less sunshine. We found ten species of lupines that will grow in Oregon, are native to Oregon, and are very similar in appearance to the Texas natives. There are two choices here: one is to send seeds for, say, Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) to your friend and she can experiment and see what happens; the second is to find a species that looks as close to what she has in her memory as the Texas bluebonnet, purchase the seeds in Oregon from native plant and seed suppliers, and grow them where they belong. Since these seeds would ordinarily be planted in the Fall, you (and your friend) have a little time to look over the facts and then decide. First, read these three articles in our "How-To Articles" on the culture of bluebonnets: How to Grow Bluebonnets, How to Grow Bluebonnets: Rhizobium FAQs, and How to Grow Bluebonnets: Scarification FAQs. All members of the Lupinus genus are members of the Fabaceae, or legume, family so the growing requirements should be very similar. Finally, suggest that your friend go to this website for the Portland Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon. Not only will they have publications and informative meetings, but they have a tab on their home page for Native Plant Suppliers. For comparison sake, we are going to list the six lupines native to Texas, and the ten we liked that are native to Oregon. Any one of these that you or your friend is interested in knowing more about, you can go down to the bottom of the webpage for that particular species, click on "Search Google for (name of plant) and it will take you to a whole lot more information than we have room for in our Native Plant Database.

Native to Texas

Lupinus havardii (Big Bend bluebonnet)

Lupinus plattensis (Nebraska lupine)

Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet)

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Lupinus concinnus (bajada lupine)

Native to Oregon

Lupinus albifrons (silver lupine)

Lupinus argenteus (silvery lupine)

Lupinus bicolor (miniature lupine)

Lupinus caudatus (tailcup lupine)

Lupinus grayi (Sierra lupine)

Lupinus polyphyllus (bigleaf lupine)

Lupinus sellulus ssp. sellulus var. lobbii (Donner Lake lupine)

Lupinus sericeus (silky lupine)

Lupinus vallicola (open lupine)

Lupinus wyethii (Wyeth's lupine)

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bend bluebonnet
Lupinus havardii

Nebraska lupine
Lupinus plattensis

Sandyland bluebonnet
Lupinus subcarnosus

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Annual lupine
Lupinus concinnus

Silver lupine
Lupinus albifrons

Silvery lupine
Lupinus argenteus

Miniature lupine
Lupinus bicolor

Tailcup lupine
Lupinus caudatus

Sierra lupine
Lupinus grayi

Bigleaf lupine
Lupinus polyphyllus

More Wildflowers Questions

Are bluebonnets toxic to horses from Pearland TX
March 10, 2011 - Are bluebonnets toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

When is it safe to mow wildflowers in Castroville, TX?
May 26, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My yard in Castroville, TX sprouted many wildflowers early in April. By now the Blue Bonnets are seeded and gone. However, I still have a lot of Mexican Blankets. My husba...
view the full question and answer

Seeds of Meremia dissecta from Austin
September 30, 2012 - I have a large quantity of seeds of Merremia dissecta that I acquired from plants growing in the parking lot of the San Antonio Museum of Art. (Hmmm… I wonder if it's called alamo vine because of som...
view the full question and answer

Flower sucession for Washington DC
June 18, 2012 - Interplanting to cover up spring ephemerals. When bulbs/spring ephemerals (camassia, bluebells, etc.) are dying back, their wilting leaves don't look so great. What can I plant to minimize the me...
view the full question and answer

Less Maintenance Plant Suggestions for New Raised Bed in Henderson, NV.
April 03, 2014 - We have a newly constructed raised garden bed. I was wondering what kind of plants would be appropriate to plant this springtime in Henderson, NV with less maintenance because I work full time.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center