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Mr. Smarty Plants - Red bluebonnets in the garden

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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

 

 

 

 

 


 

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