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Thursday - November 13, 2008

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


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?


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




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