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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 17, 2006

From: Buckeye , AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I'd like to know if Texas Bluebonnets or even Aggiebonnets (maroon bluebonnets) can be grown in the Phoenix, AZ area. If so, what conditions would you recommend doing this in, as our spring and summers are drier and hotter than there in Texas? Also, any suggestions for growing them in Missouri? Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

There are six species of the genus Lupinus in Texas. All are officially the state flower. If another species of Lupinus is discovered in Texas, it will also be considered a state flower. In Texas, all Lupinus species are called bluebonnets. Outside of Texas, species in the same genus are called lupines, and their variety increases the farther west you go on the continent.

Though it is only one of the six state flower bluebonnet species, Lupinus texensis is the most familiar, commonly seeded along highways throughout the state but native only to Central Texas. It is the species from which the 'Alamo Fire' maroon bonnets were bred.

We provide cultivation information for Lupinus texensis, but we don't recommend introducing species to areas outside their native range, especially since Arizona has many striking native species of Lupinus already, one of which also occurs in Texas: Lupinus concinnus. Other Arizona lupines include Lupinus argenteus, L. arizonicus, L. bicolor, L. caudatus, L. latifolius, L. palmeri, L. pusillus, L. sericeus, L. sparsiflorus, and L. succulentus.

Check with your state's native plant society and with our National Suppliers Directory for seed sources.

Unfortunately, there are no Lupinus species listed in the Flora of Missouri.
 

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