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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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