Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - March 11, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Red bluebonnets in the garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I bought 6 blue bonnet plants at Lowe's last fall. They survived the winter in my garden fine and they are now blooming (3/11)but they are red! Did I buy a wrong variety or is there something about my soil? I live in south Austin east of 35 where there is heavy clay soil, but these are planted in a bed of rich compost. I'll send along a picture with this. Thanks.

ANSWER:

You didn't know it but you bought Aggie bluebonnets.   If you are a UT Longhorn fan, you probably aren't going to be impressed with having Aggie bluebonnets in your garden.  However, if you are a Texas A&M Aggie fan, you probably will be very happy.  Dr. Jerry Parsons from Texas A&M developed these bluebonnets and has also come up with other colors of bluebonnets (there's also one called Barbara Bush Lavender).  Actually, you may have the variety called "Henry's Red" or "Alamo Fire" and not the maroon Aggie bluebonnet.  These red bluebonnets have been showing up more frequently (I saw them for sale at my local HEB Grocery last spring). Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg has seeds of the Alamo Fire/Maroon bluebonnet for sale.

Just so that you know, if your red flowers are near enough to normal blue-colored bluebonnets so that at least some cross-pollination occurs, your next year's crop will not have all red flowers.  It will probably be a mixture of blue, lavender and red.  Red bluebonnets (or white, pink or lavender ones) are not true breeding.  The form of the gene that produces the normal blue color is dominant over any of the other color variations so that any pollen from normal blue-colored bluebonnets that reaches your red flowers will ensure that next year's crop will not be all red.  Only pollen from red bluebonnets fertilizing other red bluebonnets will give you red bluebonnets again next year.


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

 

 

 


 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Sources for plants from Abingdon MD
August 02, 2012 - What stores or nursuries in Harford County sell already grown Coral honeysuckle, Purple passion flower, trumpet creeper, and crossvine?
view the full question and answer

Sources of information for design of prairie meados in Georgia
January 25, 2006 - Dear Ms. Smarty Plants, I am designing a prairie meadow in Covington GA (Zone 7) at the edge of piedmont and coastal ecosystems, primarily lower piedmont. I am trying to restore a 1/2-acre site over ...
view the full question and answer

Source for Desert Willow from Dallas
October 03, 2011 - I'm looking for a source for chilopsis linearis. I live in Dallas, TX. None of the specialty nurseries in Dallas seem to be able to source it. Is there any local source? Is there any source withi...
view the full question and answer

Need a source for mesquite trees in Albuquerque, NM.
September 14, 2010 - Where can I find mesquite plants to use in landscaping my yard in Albuquerque?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a new duck pond that are duck proof
January 28, 2009 - Sir. I live in Charleston SC. I dug a pond for ducks in my backyard. I want to plant grass and anything else that will grow around the pond that the ducks won't want to eat up. What should I buy to p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.