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
3 ratings

Friday - April 10, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Should I transplant my bluebonnets from the planter they came into soil in Austin?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Since moving to Austin two years ago I have fallen in love with bluebonnets. Last year I purchased seedlings from the Wildflower Center but a taste-first-evaluate-later inquisitive little fawn bit them down to the rosettes and spat them out. This year I have come across a beautiful 16" square planter filled with established bluebonnet plants blooming away like the median of Highway 71. I bought this immediately, and now I would like to know how to encourage the bluebonnets to naturalize. Should I transplant them out of the planter into the area where I'd like them to bloom (anywhere), or will that damage the roots at this point? Should I transplant them later? Or should I just let them go to seed, collect the seed, and start with that in the fall? Thanks for any help you can provide as I try to bring bluebonnets up on top of my hill here in West Austin..

ANSWER:

Bluebonnets  Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)  are described as winter annuals; they germinate in the fall, form rosettes and overwinter, then flower in the spring. The plants that you have are just about at the peak of their flowering, so transplanting at this point would probably be counter productive as they could suffer transplant shock. However,you might just move the planter to the area where you want the bluebonnets to grow before the seedpods mature.  When mature, your bluebonnet legumes will burst open, slinging the seeds quite some distance in a seed-dispersal strategy known as explosive dehiscence.  Many plants employ this method of seed dispersal.  If you cannot move the planter, you may want to enclose it somehow (not with plastic, which would cook the plants) to capture the catapulting seeds.  You can also pull them, roots and all, from the planter just as the seedpods are turning brown and put them in closed paper grocery bags.  You'll be able to hear them popping inside the bag for days or weeks.  When they're finished popping, remove the seeds from the bottom of the bag and compost the plants and paper bags.  The seeds can then be planted wherever you would like to plant them either right away or in the fall following the instructions in our How-to article.

Another good source of information is The Texas Bluebonnet by J. Andrews. See Bibliography.

 


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

When is the best time to plant or seed after a wildfire?
April 29, 2009 - This past week our 1 acre lake property at Possum Kingdom Lake in north Texas was scorched by a wildfire. No brush, grass or bushes remain, and we're hoping not to lose all the cedar and mesquite tr...
view the full question and answer

Scarifying seeds of evergreen sumacs from Lockhart TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, We would like to grow our own evergreen sumacs. Consulting Nokes book, How to Grow Native Plants on page 310, it says to scarify fresh uncleaned seeds for 30-45 minutes. On page...
view the full question and answer

Black-eyed Susans in potting soil on ground
November 12, 2010 - I would like to know if black eyed susans can be planted in just potting soil instead of mixing it in with dirt from the ground? I don't want to leave it in the pots. I want to plant it, but the grou...
view the full question and answer

Difference in acorn yields from Georgetown TX
December 27, 2012 - Why do some live oaks produce acorns in abundance and others do not?
view the full question and answer

Preparation of seeds of Cosmos parviflorus for planting
July 21, 2014 - This is in regards to Cosmos Parviflorus. I reside directly outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. Cosmos Parviflorus grows naturally here and I have collected some seeds from a couple of...
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