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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.

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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 - November 22, 2009

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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
 

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