En EspaŅol

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
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
1 rating

Monday - April 25, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Germination and propagation of bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Austin. Last fall I spread a load of dirt on my lawn to provide soil contact for the 2 pounds of bluebonnet seeds I subsequently spread (this was in early November). The germination rate appears to have been very low. Other than seed scarification (which I did not do) what else can I try to get better results? Was the load of dirt a reasonable thing to try?

ANSWER:

First of all, bluebonnet seeds naturally germinate over a period of several years. This is a common survival strategy for plants living in difficult climates. If the weather is not suitable for bluebonnet success this year, there will be seeds next year and the next to try and try again. In newly sown meadows it is normal to see a gradual increase in the number of bluebonnets over several years. This past year, was not a particularly good year for bluebonnets in many areas due to high rainfall rates at critical times that led to a fungal outbreak. The dirt was a reasonable thing to try, but it may also have been a boon for pillbugs. Although they tend to feed on decaying organic matter, they can decimate germinating bluebonnet seeds. Having said all that, scarifying the seeds would have probably given you better germination. One method is to put sand in a large jar with a small amount of water to make a slurry, add the bluebonnet seeds and shake vigorously. Pour the mixture out on a fine screen and rinse the sand away. Planting the seeds a little earlier in the fall might also insure better germination
 

More Propagation Questions

Propagation of lilies by seed
November 02, 2007 - I have collected a large number of lily seeds. How can I get them to grow?
view the full question and answer

Difference between white and red berried versions of Callicarpa americana
March 24, 2007 - I have seen many American Beautyberry Bushes [Callicarpa americana] but it was not until I moved into the Big Thicket region that I had ever seen a white berried one. There is no difference botanicall...
view the full question and answer

Plants for elementary school grow lab in New York
March 14, 2007 - What can we grow in a grow lab in our elementary school library from seed now that will bloom by June or what interesting looking established plants can we put in this grow lab that will have meaning ...
view the full question and answer

Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
March 26, 2009 - We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
view the full question and answer

How to plant a gooseberry bush
November 22, 2008 - Please, if somebody can help, I need to know how to plant the gooseberry bush. Thanks,
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