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
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 Planting Questions

Leaves on new water oak turning brown from Matagorda TX
May 30, 2013 - We had water oaks planted in January when they had no leaves. Leaves came on but are now turning brown.
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

A Native Tree for Ardmore PA
January 15, 2014 - I am looking to plant a native tree in my back yard. The yard is small and gets mostly afternoon sun. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Transplanting trumpet creeper in Prairie City, IA
August 22, 2011 - I have a Trumpet Creeper that I would like to transplant. How do you do that?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Virginia creeper
September 02, 2008 - I have a large Virginia creeper plant approximately 15 feet in length. Is it possible to transplant the whole thing without killing it? If so how do I care for it after it has been moved? Thank yo...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center