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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - December 08, 2009

From: Crestwood, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Why do some plants resprout in Spring from Crestwood KY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am a 5th grade student at Crestwood Elementary School; and one of my classmates came up with an excellent question that I can not answer. Here it is: Why do some plants (like bulbs) resprout in spring?

ANSWER:

How did you get elected class question-answerer? If you and your classmates will learn something about doing research from this, we will be pleased.

To begin with, you need to understand that all living things, plants, people and animals have a strong need to reproduce themselves. Plants do this in two ways-by blooming and making seed and by preserving nutrition in a root to come back in the Spring. Some plants, like mosses and ferns, do not bloom but they still make provisions for reproduction. Plants whose roots die in the winter and reproduce solely from seeds are called annuals. It takes a lot of energy for a plant to produce blossoms and then seeds, and once they have done so, when the weather turns cold, they usually die, root and all. Plants that can come up from a root or bulb, after the upper part of the plant has died back, are called perennials. These plants can, and most do, also produce seeds, but they have fleshy root structures that not only bring in nutrients and water for the plant from the soil, but also store nutrients to permit the plant to regrow in the same place when the weather warms up. 

First, let's talk about the annual plants that depend entirely on seeds for propagation. From everybody's favorite research site, Wikipedia, here is an article on annual plants

Next, perennial plants. Again, from Wikipedia, here are some useful facts on perennial plants. Some perennials, like trees and shrubs, even evergreen vines, do not die back to the ground in the winter, but the word "perennial" is usually used when speaking of herbaceous blooming plants. 

Since you asked specifically about bulbs, here is an article from Virginia Cooperative Extension Flowering Bulbs: Culture and Maintenance. Technically, tubers, bulbs and corms are stem tissues that are swollen to contain the necessary plant structures to recreate the same plant come Spring. 

From Google:

Pictures of bulbs

Pictures of roots

Pictures of tubers

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Presence of male Yaupon to ensure berries on female yaupons
November 09, 2008 - Does a female Yaupon have to be planted next to a male to insure berries every year? I have had "experts" tell me absolutely yes and others tell me absolutely not.
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Need advice for growing Texas Mountain Laurel from seed in Humble, TX
March 25, 2011 - We live in Humble, Texas 77396 and would like to grow some Texas Mountain Laurel trees from seed. I recently read that they may not grow well in this area because they prefer the Texas Hill country a...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of mountain laurel seeds
June 20, 2008 - My Texas Mountain Laurel this year finally produced seed pods. How do I go about planting the seeds for a new tree? A few of my co-workers love my tree and I would like to give them either the seeds ...
view the full question and answer

Gathering Purple Coneflower seeds in Burnet TX
October 10, 2009 - I have grown some Purple Coneflower and now am trying to save the seeds to plant next spring. I have a bucket full of dried tops and I know there is a lot of seeds. Is there an easy way to separate ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center