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 Wildflowers Questions

Getting rid of wildflowers in Frankfort IL
September 02, 2009 - Can you tell us how to get rid of wildflowers? We have wildflowers on the side of our pond and we want to plant sod next year.Should we cut them down this year and use a vegetation killer? We have fi...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Perennial herbs and woody species for North Texas
February 17, 2009 - I have recently moved to North Texas. It would be helpful to know some hardy perennial flowers to plant. Also what types of shrubs and trees that do well in the area. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Fall Wildflowers for Helotes, TX
October 20, 2014 - Dear Smarty, Could you please suggest a few colorful wildflowers for a sunny area. I live north of San Antonio, TX and would like to plant some flowers in October but I want something that has been ...
view the full question and answer

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