En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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:


Carya illinoinensis


Carya illinoinensis


Carya illinoinensis


Carya illinoinensis


Lupinus texensis


Lupinus texensis


Lupinus texensis


Lupinus texensis

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Propagation of native American beautyberry in North Carolina
August 31, 2008 - I have found a beauty berry bush growing wild in the woods. It is huge! I broke off a couple of branches (1/4 " in diameter) and wonder if it will root if I just stick it in good moist soil. I alr...
view the full question and answer

Restoring and propagating rhododendrons
October 18, 2006 - I have 70+ year old native rhododendrons (16+ feet high) in my backyard. After all these years they are beginning to get dammaged by snow load and ice. Therefore I have 2 quesitons concerning these b...
view the full question and answer

How to protect Columbine plants from Texas sun
May 12, 2015 - I planted some Red columbine seeds in October of last year and they are now doing well, roughly 6-inches tall. I believed I was planting them in mostly shade at the time; that area now seems to get 6+...
view the full question and answer

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center