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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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Thursday - May 06, 2010

From: Damon, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: When to plant bluebonnet seeds in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live south of Houston and have purchased 1lb. of bluebonnet seeds. The seed company told me I could put them out in June-when mother nature does it, however I have read several answers that say to see in the fall. So my question is June or Fall? Also if I wait until fall do I keep them in the freezer?

ANSWER:

First, please read our How-To Article How to Grow Bluebonnets. It will answer just about all your questions, except the one about freezing the seeds. Couldn't hurt, especially as you are in Houston where the humidity might cause some problems. When you get ready to seed, take them out of the freezer and proceed as the article says. Please be aware they will germinate and begin to bloom in their own sweet time. The article discusses scarifying the seed, which seems pretty tedious. One method being talked about at the Wildflower Center is to put the seeds in a  big pot of water, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and let them sit in the water for several hours. This is something you do when you are ready to plant. Even that is not necessary, but it might help to get more blooms the first year. Many seeds will never germinate at all, some will bloom and make seeds and drop them the first year, and many seeds will wait in the ground and then germinate, years later. As long as they are not mowed or pulled out before the seed pods mature, they will continue to re-seed and make more bluebonnets every year.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

 

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