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
1 rating

Thursday - November 17, 2011

From: Mason City, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Wildflowers
Title: Overwintering Texas bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted Texas Bluebonnet and I want to know how to save them through the winter months. I think they are so beautiful. Can I cover them with something?

ANSWER:

If your bluebonnet is Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), it is an annual and its plants will die during the winter.  If you allowed it to drop its seeds, it could possibly grow again from them for next spring, although it is out of its natural range (see the distribution map from USDA Plants Database).  In Texas the tiny rosettes of the spring plants have already appeared from the seeds deposited in spring and summer.  They will overwinter and begin to grow taller after the warm spring rains and produce flowers in late March through the month of May.  The Texas bluebonnet grows as far north as Oklahoma where the USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and 7.  Since Mason City is in Zone 5a, the seeds may or may not germinate there.  If you grew your bluebonnets from seeds for this year, then it may work.  They should be in the ground by now, however.   Here is a a How to Article, How to Grow Bluebonnets, that gives more details.

As an alternative to the Texas bluebonnet, there is a beautiful lupine, Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine), that is native to Illinois.  It is a perennial and blooms in May and June.  You can check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries in Illinois that specialize in native plants that might carry seeds for the sundial lupine.  In a quick check I found that Wilson Seed Farms, Inc. in Tiskilwa, Illinois has seeds for sale. 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

More Wildflowers Questions

Plants for Maine
June 06, 2005 - Hi there, I am looking for types of wildflowers that might be growing in Maine late july that would be okay to pick (would rather not pick endangered species, etc.). Any leads would be great. Also if ...
view the full question and answer

Define monoculture from St. Croix Falls, WI
May 30, 2014 - What do you call a dense stand or carpet of one species of wildflower? Our botany professor told us but that was 40 years ago!
view the full question and answer

Grasses and wildflowers for Central Texas
December 29, 2008 - I live between Bastrop and Paige and would like to know native grasses or types of wildflowers I can plant now. thank you
view the full question and answer

Seedball Germination in Dallas
September 19, 2015 - I read your answer to the question posed about wildflower seed balls not germinating along a bike trail in Dallas. My garden club is also wanting to purchase seeds to create and scatter seed balls. ...
view the full question and answer

Dicentra Late in Emerging in the Spring
April 29, 2013 - I have had a bleeding heart plant that has come up for over 50 years. This year it did not come up. Is there anything I can do? Is there a chance that it will come up next year or should I assume that...
view the full question and answer

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