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?


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

Monday - May 17, 2010

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


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.


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




More Wildflowers Questions

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas Bluebonnets in Colorado
February 12, 2009 - I bought bluebonnet seeds from your wildflower center last August when visited Austin. Being a Texas native, I want to enjoy bluebonnets here in Colorado. When do I plant my seeds outdoors? In the gro...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Galveston
February 12, 2012 - I'm looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant plants for Galveston, on the bay side, in a well drained area with morning sun. I was thinking of Phlox, Muhly grass, Lantana.....and I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school
August 04, 2007 - I am a Scout working on starting a wildflower meadow at an Elementary school. How should I prepare the ground and what types of seeds do well in zipcode area 76092? I would also like so add some nat...
view the full question and answer

Best time for wildflower planting in the Ozarks
April 13, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Ozarks, and have an open bottomland valley area I want to transform into more natives for many reasons. I am starting a 2 acre field of NATIVE grasses (warm sea...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center