En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Proper method of scattering bluebonnet seeds

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - December 18, 2008

From: Abilene, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Proper method of scattering bluebonnet seeds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I scattered about 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds during various times this past fall season. I have read that it is a must to plant the seeds about an 1/8" of an inch into the ground rather than surface sow them in fear that the birds will get to them. My question is, since Mother Nature surface sows the Bluebonnet seeds during the spring time, why is it that the birds don't get to them then? Thanks !

ANSWER:

Because there is no perfect way to sow seeds to prevent damage by insects, being eaten by birds, being blown to inhospitable dirt (like pavement), or too much/too little water most plants make LOTS of seeds, and bluebonnets are no exception. The mother plant doesn't carefully select the right place and then tenderly rake them in, she just lets 'em go. We have no figures on what percentage of seeds actually make it from the seed pod to the point of becoming another full-grown plant, but it's probably not very large. The thing is, Nature has very kindly provided our beautiful bluebonnets, and all the other plants that grow from seeds in the world, survival tactics. They can hunker down in the soil, and wait years for the right conditions to appear. They can become food for animals and birds, thus helping them to survive. They can hide in the grass from predators, blending in to the soil, "disappearing" from sight, or they may prove never to have been viable, no matter how protected and perfectly planted they have been. Some processes we just can't control. Read our How-To Article How to Grow Bluebonnets for some more suggestions on propagation of the Texas state flower. 


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

More Propagation Questions

native plants for landscaping in Honolulu
January 08, 2012 - Hi, wildflower.org has been a great help for me in learning about different plants, their Latin names and characteristics. I was looking for a list of plants (trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials...
view the full question and answer

Cold moist stratification of Echinacea purpurea
July 23, 2007 - I was looking at your info on Purple Coneflowers and it says: "Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification for two months improves germination." What is Cold-moist stratification? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Information on propagating alder (Alnus crispa) from seed or cuttings in Alberta, Canada
January 20, 2006 - What do you know about propagating alder (Alnus crispa) from seed or cuttings? I'm involved in a small stream side revegetation project in central Alberta, Canada.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis)
October 08, 2008 - I have seeds from a madrone tree and would like to know if you have had success propagating a madrone and if so, could you give me some tips, because I hear it can be tricky.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of hostas
September 06, 2005 - I have many different types of hostas in my yard. This year they bloomed abundantly and now have large pods where the blooms were which are full of seeds. My questions: 1. If I plant these pods, o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center