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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - November 29, 2004

From: New Orleans, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We would like to know if the bluebonnet wildflowers are suitable for New Orleans and, if so, which months should they be seeded. Otherwise what can you suggest for our humid climate. We like blue, lavender, yellow and peach. There are some oak trees with many birds. Will the birds eat many of the seeds? We have a Housing Project across from our church that could benefit from the beauty of flowers.

ANSWER:

It is possible that the Texas bluebonnet, the species that grows around the Austin area, might grow well in New Orleans; but a similar species, the sandyland bluebonnet, that is more common in East Texas, would probably do better in the New Orleans climate and soil type. Another member of the Family Lupinus that also occurs in Louisiana, the sundial lupine might also do well there. You might also check out the articles in our Native Plant Library about growing bluebonnets and landscaping with native plants.

Since you will be sowing seed and covering with soil, there shouldn't be a big problem with birds eating them. Alternatively, you could sow seeds in pots and then transplant them or buy young plants to transplant.

In your garden you probably want flowers that require the least amount of care, are perennial, and provide a variety of colors over most of the year. For instance, black-eyed Susans would provide yellow flowers in mid- to late summer while the bluebonnets would bloom in the spring. You can pick and choose by flower color and bloom time from a list of plants native to the Southeast from the Regional Factpacks on the Wildflower Center web page. There is also a list of native plant and seed sources for your region at this same address.
 

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