En EspaÑol

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

Monday - July 30, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 spring. I live just a few miles West of the Wildflower center, btw. My bluebonnet patch has performed nicely and I had an epic bloom this spring. Here’s my puzzle: I have hundreds of them that have germinated into rosettes here this July. In the past few years the germination has been on schedule in September and October as you’d expect. Can you tell me what’s going on and what hope these plants have of surviving? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Fear not! Nature and your bluebonnets have not lost their minds. Central Texas got no rain and few bluebonnets last year, Winter rain and zillions of bluebonnets this year. Bluebonnets are survivors; some of those rosettes that you are seeing now will very likely put on a few blooms because their First Directive is to go forth and propagate. Leaves, blooms and seeds. But still in the ground, and still viable, are many, many more seeds that have been waiting their chance, sometimes for several years, to come up and do their thing. Even if those rosettes don't manage to produce some seeds before it gets too cold for them, you will still get more rosettes, seeds and flowers beginning in late December or early January. Bluebonnets have graced Texas through droughts and floods and fires for thousands of years, with no help from anxious gardeners or Mr. Smarty Plants. Darn it, we do love to be needed.

Please read our How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets, just for reassurance, but it sounds like you're doing just fine. You know what you've been doing? Keep doing it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers for hill with erosion in San Carlos, CA
September 22, 2012 - What wildflowers would you suggest for our hills that have erosion, low ground cover in San Carlos, California?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Blue vervain native to Indiana
January 06, 2003 - I have a species I need to know if it is native to my area (southern Indiana) - Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
view the full question and answer

Peak period for viewing Central Texas wildflowers
March 31, 2006 - My daughter lives in San Antonio now. I want to time my next visit with the peak period to blue bonnets and other TX wildflowers. When do you recommend that I visit and come to the Center for the fi...
view the full question and answer

Starting Venus Flytrap From Seed
September 05, 2013 - I am a high school student doing a project on the Venus flytrap and would like you to help me by answering the following questions: What are the Venus flytrap predators and prey? How to raise a Venus ...
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