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?


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


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!


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

Need information about broadcasting wildflower seeds in a pasture 70 miles east of Dallas, TX.
April 20, 2011 - We recently moved to upper east TX - 70 miles East of Dallas. I would like to broadcast wildflowers in our pasture. I'm assuming I'll need to wait until next fall, but not sure about that. Can you t...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Bleeding Heart-Like Plant Identification in PA
May 09, 2015 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. We have a plant that looks almost like the bleeding heart, as in the way the bell shaped (not heart) white flowers hang downward on the stem. However, the leaves are broader and...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating Claytonia virginica in Varna IL
April 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of or control Claytonia virginica? It is starting to take over my lawn.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center