Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
1 rating

Wednesday - November 03, 2010

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Do pecans and bluebonnets only bloom every other year from New Braunfels TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Is it true that bluebonnets only seed every other year? I know we see bluebonnets every year, so this is quite a mystery to us. Also, is it the same with pecan trees?

ANSWER:

For Carya illinoinensis (Pecan), the answer is partially, yes.  Native pecans and many older cultivars typically bear heavy crops only every other year.  This is true for many nut-bearing trees.  However, some newer cultivars, such as 'Hopi', bear heavy crops every year. 

In the case of  Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), no. The bluebonnet is an annual plant. By definition this means the plant must live out a full life cycle in under 12 months, every year. The seeds fall from the seed pods (or are squirted up to 20 ft. away by "explosive dehiscence") and lie in the soil until the conditions are right for germinating, which may be 60 days or 5 years. Those seeds that are viable and sprout produce rosettes about Christmas, and begin to show blooms late in February. About 6 weeks of furious blooming, the seed pods begin to form, and the cycle begins again. Every living organism's Prime Directive is to reproduce itself, and the way it is timed has everything to do with how long that plant will live, how long it has to reproduce.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Reversion of maroon bluebonnets back to blue
March 01, 2007 - In the fall, I bought a flat of Texas bluebonnets. They are blooming now, and it turns out they are actually maroon bluebonnets! Which is really too bad, because I want blue bluebonnets. Do you know i...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting False Gaura in Austin
October 27, 2010 - I am transplanting my false gaura. Do they transplant well, and should I cut them back?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Indian Paintbrush in Corona CA
November 05, 2013 - I have a very mature Indian Paintbrush Plant that was becoming too large for the area I had originally planted it in, so I transplanted it to an area much more suited for its size. I reviewed the que...
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Should a bloom stalk be cut down in Yuma AZ?
May 07, 2010 - I have a plant in my front yard that looks like an aloe vera. It doesn't have any thorns or needles but does have a tall stalk like stem coming from the middle of it. The "stalk" is now approx. 5'...
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.