Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 30, 2011

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Re-blooming bluebonnets in May in Kyle TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My bluebonnets in flower bed bloomed beautifully this spring. Now it is late May and they bloomed again. Why is this? I never saw these flowers bloom twice in a season.

ANSWER:

We assume you are not complaining, just trying to figure out what's going on. Full disclosure: We don't know, either, and we actually did some research trying to see if anyone else had encountered and/or explained it. In our line of business, when all else fails, blame the weather. We had about as weird a Spring as we can remember, and that has to top some pretty weird years. During the prime time of bluebonnet bloom we had some blazing hot days and then, almost suddenly, overnight temperatures near freezing in some parts of Central Texas. And, of course, the drought has rapidly gone from "about the usual" to "simply awful."

In our How-To Article Bluebonnets you learn that bluebonnets have a very tough, hard coat that protects the seed in the ground from animals and insects devouring them and allows them to lie dormant for several years without losing viability. We're guessing that, possibly because of the drought and heat, some of the bluebonnet rosettes that appeared in your garden in January did not put on bloom. No bloom, no seed. To reproduce itself is the Prime Directive of every plant, so when we had those cold snaps, a little rain and some warming up, something way down in the genetic code of those rosettes that had not bloomed, or maybe even some that had, said "It's Time!!" There is no way of tracking which plants cast seeds that in turn come up the next year or the next or..... But the plant's reproductive system has done its part to see to it that our beautiful bluebonnets are not going to be extinct.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers that grow in woodlands
June 22, 2011 - Please tell me the names of wildflowers that grow under your oak trees in Texas. I am only familiar with those open meadow plants, not those that live under the deciduous trees. Thank you for your t...
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of wildflower beds
January 21, 2010 - I need to know what to do with my wildflower beds in my front yard. I created the beds last spring, put in an underground soaker/hose sprinkler system and planted a Tx/Ok seed mix from American Meado...
view the full question and answer

Life cycle of Big Bend bluebonnet from Rosanky TX
April 29, 2010 - I have searched and searched and need to find the life cycle of a Big Bend Bluebonnet for a school project, but have been unable to find it. If there is a website that would have this information, ple...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers and grasses for sunny field in Nashville, TN
October 09, 2005 - I want to plant wildflowers in a sunny field (old pasture land) in Nashville, Tennessee. I plan on killing the existing weeds and tall grasses with roundup this fall and planting native grasses (wha...
view the full question and answer

Yellow and purple wildflowers for a wedding in Burgettstown PA
August 10, 2010 - I'm not sure exactly what I am looking for and I'm sorry if its too much to ask but....I want to have a fun relaxed wedding next June or July time. I can't find wildflowers that would bloom during...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.