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?


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
2 ratings

Sunday - November 22, 2009

From: Claremore, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wintering over Bluebonnets in a pot in Oklahoma
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe


I live near Tulsa, OK, and I have spent the last year trying to grow bluebonnets in a container. I have been very successful in this process and they are so beautiful and full, but now I am worried about the winter and it totally destroying them. I am not sure what I should do with them, do I cover them to protect them from freezing, or do I just let them be and they will come back next spring? What should I do? Thank you for all your help. Jennifer


Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is planted as a roadside flower throughout Texas and Oklahoma, and winters well, growing through the winter months – through freezing temperatures and snow – to bloom in the spring. Plants in pots can be a little more vulnerable, because cold weather can chill the soil in a pot to freezing, where roots in the ground are protected. You may need to cover or move your plants to prevent this from happening. Our article on Container Gardening with Native Plants has this to say about protecting plants in pots from the cold:

"In freezing weather, plants in containers are more vulnerable than plants in the ground. They can be shielded on the south side of a wall with leaves, blankets, or given extra warmth with strings of holiday lights. Particularly tender plants should be brought inside. Remember to uncover your plants after a few days when the weather warms up and avoid over-watering dormant plants to prevent rotting."

You may also want to read our article on How to Grow Bluebonnets.


Lupinus texensis


Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Culture of Indian paintbrush
December 16, 2007 - I have never tried to plant the Indian Paintbrush flower before, and I'm not sure what the culture is besides what's on the LBJ Wildflower center website. Are there any tricks for getting a good sh...
view the full question and answer

Source for seed of Blackfoot Daisy from Amarillo TX
October 29, 2011 - I need help finding Melampodium leucanthum seed. I have spent the last few hours on the web searching for them. I checked the resources in your lists and cannot find seed. I live in Potter Coun...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Getting started in gardening
September 16, 2006 - Does the center publish any or several planting guides to help gardeners get started? I find it is overwhelming understanding where to start. I have some lake property in East Texas close to Athen...
view the full question and answer

Orientation of roots of Ranunculus
April 11, 2006 - I need to know how to plant "Ranunculus". I don't know which way to put the rhizomes/bulbs in the ground. Do they go flat side down or strange long tubular things upward ?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center