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

Thursday - May 13, 2010

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Planting time and method for bluebonnets in Leander, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What month is the right month to plant the bluebonnet seeds? September or October? Is the correct way to plant is by "throwing" them on top of the ground? I have a grassy area and I like them there. If I "push" them a little in the ground --- will it take them longer to come up thru the grass? Thank you, JoAnn

ANSWER:

Begin by reading our How-To Article. How to Grow Bluebonnets. It answers many basic questions about Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), which, of course, is native to Central Texas. Also, here is some information we extracted from a question similar to yours:

"Well, see, it doesn't work like that. "Lawn" and "wildflowers" tend to be self-exclusive. A lawn is grasses that are expected to be mowed about every week during heavy growing season. Wildflowers must be given a chance to bloom, mature, set seed and drop it before they get mowed. Plus, many of the favorite Texas wildflowers are annuals, not perennials. For instance, Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is a winter annual, dropping its seeds from the legume pods in Fall, the seeds gradually work their way down into the soil (which could take two or three years), the soil and rainfall "weather" the seeds until their seed coverings permit them to germinate, and then they pop up, showing rosettes in January that you might mistake for weeds, and only beginning to look like a bluebonnet in mid-March. Most wildflower seeds need good soil contact, which they certainly won't get in a thatch of lawn. You could "throw out" a whole bunch of seeds, and might get only two or three blooms. A tiny seedling trying to get up through that lawn barrier is going to struggle, at best. The rest of the seeds will have been consumed by rodents, carried off  by birds to bloom somewhere else, rotted or finally have soaked down into some dirt. Then, in their own good time, those members of the last class will begin to show up, years later."  

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

Should Bluebonnets Be Planted in Mulch in Spring Branch, TX
September 23, 2010 - I would like to plant bluebonnet seeds in my flower bed. The bed has a layer of shredded cedar mulch. Do I need to remove the mulch where the seeds will be planted, or will the plants grow up through ...
view the full question and answer

Peak time for bluebonnets to bloom in 2009
June 12, 2008 - Any idea when we can look for the bluebonnets to appear in 2009? Trying to have a reunion and want to see bluebonnets for the out of staters!!
view the full question and answer

Transplanting seedlings washed out of area by rain
February 17, 2007 - I sowed a rather large area in my wild back yard in wildflowers. There is no grass. A few weeks later after we had been watering them because of no rain (in Sept), we got way too much rain and many o...
view the full question and answer

Late Blooming Wildflowers for Round Rock
August 06, 2014 - I thought this would be a previously answered question but found nothing in the data base. My question is: in Central Texas what can be grown for some color or interest in a wildflower area when the w...
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