En Español

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

Source for non-native Coleus Canina
March 04, 2009 - We are trying to find Coleus Canina (Scaredy Cat Coleus)? to no avail. We purchased this plant in 2006 and it works. The Vt company no longer carries it. Can you help me. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Resources for designing a landscape in Florida
November 03, 2007 - I have a large backyard that was devastated by Hurricane Wilma 2 years ago. I am tired of looking at bare grass. Is there a good lanscaping resource that I can design a rather large landscape. I reall...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-Texas native pin cherry for Texas
February 28, 2006 - Dear Ms. Smarty Plants, I learned that the fire cherry/ pin cherry is a very hardy tree, and that it is very drought resistant. I live in zone 7, on black land, which becomes very dry in the summer. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lilacs for wedding bouquet in July in Salt Lake City
May 07, 2010 - My friend's daughter wants to have lilacs in her wedding bouquet, but she is not getting married until July 15th. I realize lilacs are spring flowers, but will there be anywhere in the U.S. that lila...
view the full question and answer

Finding a native plant garden designer from Austin
April 10, 2011 - I was at the center today and told to contact you on the website for suggestions on who to call to hire a garden designer to come to my house,lay out a garden and select plants, etc.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center