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

Saturday - April 25, 2009

From: McHenry, IL
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other than putting Rhizobium on the seedlings before sowing (does it matter how much she puts on the seeds), is there any particular potting soil type she should use? Anything she should add to the soil, like sand or any particular plant food?

ANSWER:

We would like you and/or your mother to read two of our How-To Articles, Container Gardens with Native Plants and How to Grow Bluebonnets. These both have very good, very complete instructions. Because a commercial potting soil will already have nutrients in it, you don't need to add fertilizer. These plants are used to coming up and blooming without fertilizer, special watering or any maintenance. With all the tender loving care your mother is giving them, they should flourish.

Since we get asked this sort of question A LOT, we'll save some time by quoting from a previous answer, which also refers you to the same How-To Article, but summarizes the process. This is discussing moving bluebonnets from a planter to the soil, but also explains the timing and process of the seeds being distributed.

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 Transplants Questions

Failure to bloom of one of two Texas persimmons from Wimberly TX
May 04, 2013 - Last year my son planted two texas persimmon trees. One is blooming ok this year and the other is not. It does not seem dead. What can I do or is is in fact dying?
view the full question and answer

Failure of older branches on Bauhinia lunarioides to thrive
April 27, 2008 - We planted a sapling of the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) winter (Jan, Feb?) and now it has leaves and blooms - but only off of new branches near its trunk, as the old branches haven't ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting aspens and Colorado blue spruce trees
August 18, 2009 - Please help me with info on transplanting aspen and blue spruce trees in Colorado. I live at 8600ft and have tons of deer. thx
view the full question and answer

Transplanting roughleaf dogwood in Pflugerville, TX
March 28, 2007 - Hello. My rougleaf dogwood is suckering enthusiastically, and rather than mow off all the root suckers, I'd like to transplant a couple of them to the stream bank in the greenbelt behind my house. ...
view the full question and answer

Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
October 27, 2011 - I live in a wooded area off of a dirt road that is going to be widened and paved by the state. There are many native plants and shrubs growing on the side of the road in areas that will soon be pavem...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center