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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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Monday - June 13, 2011

From: Clifton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Collecting seeds for Texas Bluebell from Clifton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How and when should I try and collect seeds from the Texas Bluebell?

ANSWER:

We are going to assume that you mean Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (Texas bluebells). There is another plant, Campanula reverchonii (Basin bellflower) that has as one of its common names Texas Bluebell, but we doubt that is the one you want. In Bosque County, you are not far from Washington County, where the famous creamery was named after the bluebell, so we are assuming you have stands of this plant available in your area for collecting seeds. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that is indeed the case.

From our Native Plant Database page (which read) here are the Propagation Instructions:

"Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: The seed is exceptionally small and somewhat difficult to germinate. The best results have come from surface seeding (since the seed requires light for germination) in flats at approximately 70 - 75 degrees. Field seeding can be done in spring or fall, however, spring germination usually results in the vegetative growth overwintering and not flowering until the second summer. Fall germination should produce flowers the first season.
Seed Collection: Collect seed when seeds inside the capsule are black.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: When the seed capsule ripens (in September or October), the stalk should be cut back to 2 - 3 inches above the ground. By mid September, the base will develop a cluster of 8 to 10 new shoots. These will remain as a cluster of leaves throughout the winter and resume growth in the spring. Plants that overwinter are usually much stronger and have more flowers than they do the first year."

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebells
Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Texas bluebells
Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Texas bluebells
Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Basin bellflower
Campanula reverchonii

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