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 - January 07, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Planting, Wildflowers
Title: Planting bluebonnets on UT Campus in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello! I am with a student organization on the University of Texas campus. Walking around campus, I have noticed the lack of the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet. Our organization is hoping to plant bluebonnets in a couple areas around campus as a beautification project if we can get University approval. I'll be the first to admit I am no expert in wildflowers, but we think this could be a really neat project. My question is: Can you purchase already sprouted or grown bluebonnets from a nursery and replant them? I know the time to plant actual seeds is late fall/early winter and this has already passed, and we were hoping to get this started this semester. Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

ANSWER:

We agree that would be a good project for your organization to plant Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), if you can overcome the difficulty with the planting time. We are also a part of the University of Texas system, and always glad to promote the use of native plants anywhere.  We suggest you contact Janet Reed with UT landscape services - janet.reed@cpfm.utexas.edu.

Our Nursery Manager, Sean Watson, says that you can possibly get bluebonnet bedding plants, small rosettes right now, at Home Depot; he didn't know of any other local nursery that sold anything but seeds for bluebonnets. We do know that there are blooming bluebonnets, in season, on sale at several places in town including grocery stores. These won't live long after planting-they are annuals, and the best you could do with plants like that is get them in the ground, harvest seeds in late Summer, and replant them in October. It's pretty expensive, per plant, to do it that way. And, because they are annuals, if they can't be left in place where you plant them to reseed themselves, they will not come back up next year. From our National Suppliers Directory, here is a list of nurseries in the Austin area that carry a lot of native plants. All have contact information so that you could find out if they have or will have the rosettes for sale this year:

Nurseries

Name Location % Native Associate
Utility Research Garden Austin, TX 25   
Landscape Mafia Austin, TX 75  Yes 
PlantEscape Gardens Austin, TX 100  Yes 
Barton Springs Nursery Austin, TX 50   
Chisos Gardens Austin, TX   Yes 
Pots & Plants Garden Center Austin, TX 50   

Now, to get back to your project, we have an excellent How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets that should help if your project becomes an ongoing one. We want to mention, in terms of your not seeing many bluebonnets on campus, there is only about a two-month window during which they will bloom, usually March and April. They need full sun, and alkaline soil. If your Landscape Department clears out the beds for subsequent plantings, those bluebonnets will not come back, but will have to be replanted every year.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Growing bluebonnets in pot in Flower Mound TX
November 01, 2011 - 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. W...
view the full question and answer

Favorite Wildflower
July 31, 2011 - Dear Green Guru - What are your favorite wildflowers? Signed Curious
view the full question and answer

Identity of maroon flower taking over bluebonnets
April 14, 2008 - there is a maroon colored flowering weed at my ranch in Oakwood Texas. It is taking over the bluebonnets and indian paint brushes. Can you tell me what it is and how to get rid of it.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a garden in Panama City, FL
May 10, 2013 - I live in zone 9 in Florida. We are looking for plants which will be attractive all year long for the front of our house's landscaping which faces north. I need a specimen bush which doesn't get ov...
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for non-native Santolina virens
March 23, 2015 - Can you recommend companion plant options for Santolina virens? The companion plant would be planted randomly and interspersed with the santolina and needs to be no taller than 12 inches because of th...
view the full question and answer

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