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

Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Tioga, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Watering, Wildflowers
Title: Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal.

ANSWER:

Begin by reading our How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets. Once an annual like Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) has put on flowers and then seeds, that plant is through. The bluebonnet is considered a winter annual, it begins to come up in January, rosettes appearing early followed by the first blooms the end of February, blooming for about 6 weeks, usually ending in April. Nature has timed this so that the seeds in the ground can take advantage of winter rains. If you were ever going to water your bluebonnets, a very dry winter would be the time to do it.

Just in order to know what we are talking about, as there are at least 7 members of the genus Lupinus native to Texas, we checked the USDA Plant Database on Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and found that it does, indeed, grow natively in or near Grayson County, up nearly on the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

Not only did your plants apparently make seeds to wait out the drought, but there are almost surely more seeds that just have not yet sprouted, perhaps having been in the ground for years. Nature has provided them with this survival technique to see them through the harsh weather for which Texas is very well known, as is the state flower.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Propagation Questions

Starting Antelope Horn Milkweed Seeds
March 08, 2013 - I recently found a sealed plastic bag containing milkweed seeds in a cabinet drawer that I had gathered more than a year ago, (maybe two years ago). These are the "antelope horn" milkweed I think it...
view the full question and answer

Requirements to grow Lupinus albifrons
October 07, 2008 - What is required to grow Lupinus albifrons? Temp., soil mix, alkaline or acid, etc.?
view the full question and answer

When to plant bluebonnet seed
October 16, 2007 - When do I put out Bluebonnet seed? Do I soak them first? Thank You.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Emory Oak acorns
May 08, 2005 - Dear Wildflower Experts, By any chance do you know how we could obtain some Emory Oak acorns to plant on our farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland? I know itís not a given that the trees would grow...
view the full question and answer

Are the seeds of my Graptopetalum paraguayense in Macon, GA fertile?
June 01, 2010 - I have a Graptopetalum paraguayense that has finished blooming. I put several of the dead flowers into a Ziploc bag and shook them around, and a few hundred seeds came out. They are oblong and very sm...
view the full question and answer

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