En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - November 01, 2011

From: Flower Mound, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Seeds and Seeding, Soils, Wildflowers
Title: Growing bluebonnets in pot in Flower Mound TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We received a package of bluebonnet seeds along with the DVD Wildflowers: Seeds of History as a gift. In the film, Andrea DeLong mentions that bluebonnets did not grow well in a rich organic soil. What type of soil do you recommend we use to grow bluebonnets in small pots? When do you recommend the seeds be planted?

ANSWER:

As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile MapLupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) grows naturally in Denton and Tarrant Counties,so we are betting the dirt where you are would work just fine. We believe your area could be considered the Cross Timbers and Prairies. We used to garden there, and we can tell you, there is a very confusing mix of soils in that area. Here is the description from our webpage on the Texas Bluebonnet of the soils in which it will grow:

"Limestone/chalky, Sandy Loam, Limestone-based, Calcareous, Sandy, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche"

We agree with the statement made by our Director of Horticulture that the bluebonnet neither requires nor likes rich soils, which is probably why it does so well in Texas. This means that buying potting soil at the nursery for your containers of bluebonnets is going to be counter-productive. We are guessing that at least some of your soil is clay, which can mean poor drainage, so we suggest you mix up your own potting soil. Dig enough out of the ground to fill however many pots you plan to use. Mix in some decomposed granite, sand, even compost to improve the drainage in the pot. And don't fertilize, native plants don't need fertilizer because they are accustomed to the climate and dirt in which they already grow. Then, read our How-To Articles: How to Articles How to Grow Bluebonnets and Container Gardening with Native Plants.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers that will grow in sandy soil in New York
June 09, 2005 - Dear Mr. S. Pants, We live near Albany, NY in what was once a pine forest. The soil is very, very sandy. I've had some success with wildflowers but I have to use some topsoil and humus mixture to ...
view the full question and answer

Planting for steep slope in Alabama
July 30, 2008 - I am looking for a plant for a steep slope down to a creek in our backyard in Birmingham Alabama It will get some morning sun but will be in the shade in the afternoon. I was thinking of wildflowers...
view the full question and answer

Preparation of site for wildflowers in Missouri
December 04, 2008 - I have 1/2 lb of wildflower seed I would like to plant in the next couple days. the directions say to rid site of all weeds, do you have a suggestion of how to rid my site of thistle? Sow and canadian...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Oenothera flava growing in Michigan
June 16, 2006 - Oenothera flava (A. Nels) Garrett, is it true that this plant is not in Michigan? Is it rare or something? Because I had a hard time trying to find out what it was.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center