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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - November 13, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Propagation of wildflower seeds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently planted seeds for bluebonnets, winecups and pink evening primrose. The bluebonnets have germinated and are growing, but no sign of the other two. Do the winecups and pink evening primrose not germinate until spring? What do the seedlings look like?

ANSWER:

There are a number of species of each genus you have asked about. We tried to pick those we thought most likely to have been planted around Austin, and found a few illustrations to help you recognize them as they emerged from the ground. Remember that wildflower seeds, especially Texas Bluebonnets, will sometimes remain in the ground for years, coming up when they are good and ready, and surprise you by popping out. They will not all germinate the first year, and some will never germinate at all.

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is considered a winter annual; thus, it is already displaying its palmate rosettes, flat on the ground, in November. Those leaves will stay close to the ground, where they are insulated by the warmth of the soil, until the end of January or thereabouts, when they will begin to put out some leaves above that rosette, and soon begin setting buds, to bloom March to May. We found one picture (below) of the rosette flat on the ground without blooms, yet.

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) has rounded, hairy leaves, deeply lobed and cleft, which will probably start emerging early February, to bloom from March to June. This is a perennial, so in future years, your garden may retain some of the green leaves from year to year.

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa (bigfruit evening-primrose) - leaves alternate, narrowly lance-shaped to oval, beginning to show up in February. Also a perennial, and will bloom from May to July.


Lupinus texensis

Callirhoe involucrata

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID–maybe a lupine?
February 02, 2015 - We have a strange plant growing in our flowerbed that we did not knowingly plant. It sprang up last summer and has continued to grow throughout the winter in spite of several freezes. We live just eas...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of sowing wildflower seeds in mid-January in Lousiana
January 07, 2006 - Newton County borders Louisiana in SE Texas. Can we plant wildflowers now-mid January? The park has recently been graded and many trees blown down by Rita which will make it more sunny. The Garden ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Winter preparation for wildflowers
October 22, 2009 - My first attempt at my wild flower garden is successful. I planted a box of perennial seeds, so I don't know what type of plants I actually have. My concern is what to do once the temperature drop...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center