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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

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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Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Farmville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Volunteer bluebonnets in Farmville VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have two small Texas bluebonnet plants that came with no instructions as to how to plant them regarding soil or sun. Everything I read has to do with seeds, can you please help me? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Did you plant seeds of Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and those came up, or are they really volunteer? It's more likely they are either Lupinus perennis ssp. gracilis (sundial lupine) or Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine),  both of which are native to both Texas and Virginia. They are perennial and don't like to be transplanted because of a long taproot, but will spread from the ones that came up or drop their seeds, or you can harvest and plant the seeds. The Lupinus likes full sun, which we consider to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. 

Propagation Instructions:

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Best propagated from dry, treated seed in spring. Fresh-sown seed does not need treatment. Do not plant more than 3/4 in. deep. Does not transplant well due to deep tap root
Seed Collection: Fruit is a hairy pod. Collect in late Jun. to early Jul. Seedhead explodes.
Seed Treatment: Scarification, inoculation, moist stratification for 10 days. Soil should be inoculated before sowing seed. 

Since both L. texensis and L. perennis are considered state flowers of Texas, we sometimes recommend L. Perennis to displaced, homesick  Texans as a Texas bluebonnet they can have not in Texas. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus perennis

Lupinus perennis ssp. gracilis

 

 

 

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