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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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Wednesday - July 02, 2008

From: Italy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Transplanting native bluebells in Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello Smarty, Italy TX here again! Your advice on crape myrtles has inspired me to try harder, but now I have a question about a TRUE native wildflower,the Texas Bluebell, growing in my pasture. I can't believe they are growing. We've had NO RAIN for nearly 2 months. Our corn is already drying up. So, I want to know how I can transplant some bluebells into my wildflower patch in my yard. I tried this before but I was not very careful with the roots. Also, are bluebells one of those flowers that has no pattern of when or where it will appear? Some of the fields I've seen in previous years were lush with the purple (and some white!) flowers, but this year the field is bare.BUT I have some in my pasture where I've never had any growing before.How does that work?

ANSWER:

According to our Native Plant Database, Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (showy prairie gentian) is best propagated by seed. Unfortunately, the seed is about the size of black pepper, and slow to germinate. There are propagation instructions on the webpage we have linked you to. In terms of transplant, we have always suspected that this is a soil specific plant, because it seems to come back in the wild only in certain patches. However, we also noticed (in Brenham, the home of you-know-what ice cream) that it tended to grow in the sides of ditches, where more moisture, and perhaps some shelter from sun and wind, were available. You are very fortunate to have wild stands of this flower, as it seems to be growing more rare in the wild, and the plants that can be purchased often don't survive, either. We would suggest that, with patience, you might try propagating by seed. In addition, study the conditions and the type of soil your wild bluebells are in, and try to emulate them in your garden.


Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

 

 

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