Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - April 12, 2009

From: Waller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Creating a bluebonnet patch between Brenham and Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am creating a Bluebonnet patch in a well-drained section of my flowerbed. I just planted the plants (it is now early April and I'm between Houston and Brenham, TX). I plan to let them go to seed and hope to have beautiful blooms every year from now on! My question is this: What, if anything, should I do with that portion of the flowerbed?

ANSWER:

There are several ways to approach this situation. The first is to do nothing; let the bluebonnets bloom and  release their seed and then wait until fall when the seed start to germinate. Since you are a gardener, doing nothing is probably not your thing. So you can add a light coat of mulch or compost to the bed after the seed have been released that will help retain soil moisture and help with germination later on. In either case, you will need to be vigilant to keep out the things you don't want in your flower bed, and be on the look out for those little bluebonnet rosettes when they appear. The third alternative is more interesting and entertaining: put summer annuals in the bed.

Go to our Recommended Species page  and select Central Texas on the map. Click on NARROW YOUR SEARCH, and make the following selections: select Texas under state, herb under Habit, Annual under Duration, Sun under Light Requirement, and check May June July under Bloom time. Click on the Narrow you Search button and you will get a list of thirteen plants to choose from for your flower bed. You can alter the list by changing the selected items.

Mr. Smarty Plants chose four plants from the list.

Indian Blanket  Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Phlox Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Prairie Verbena  Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Blood Sage Salvia coccinea (blood sage)


Gaillardia pulchella

Phlox drummondii

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Plants for pavilion over fountain in Washington State
December 26, 2008 - I have a tall fountain in a 7 foot square which is surrounded by pavers. Inside the 7' square there is about a 2' mulched soil bed around the center fountain and an iron type pavilion that goes up h...
view the full question and answer

Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
July 28, 2010 - I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told L...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging native grasses to flourish
August 23, 2007 - We have been trying to restore the yard around the house with native grasses and forbs for the last two years. The soil is clay and nothing seems to grow. We have distributed 5 truck loads of mulch, p...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of hydrophobic soil in Austin, TX.
July 13, 2011 - I believe I have an area in my garden with “hydrophobic soil”: no matter how much or how slowly I water, it just beads up and rolls off and the soil beneath remains cement dry and powdery. In my readi...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.