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

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 Propagation Questions

Restoring and propagating rhododendrons
October 18, 2006 - I have 70+ year old native rhododendrons (16+ feet high) in my backyard. After all these years they are beginning to get dammaged by snow load and ice. Therefore I have 2 quesitons concerning these b...
view the full question and answer

Trimming iris leaves in Pickerington OH
June 08, 2010 - I recently trimmed the stems and leaves of my iris plants in late May - I realize now this was a bit early. The leaves are still about 3-4" out of the ground. I would like to half them and move som...
view the full question and answer

Requirements to grow Lupinus albifrons
October 07, 2008 - What is required to grow Lupinus albifrons? Temp., soil mix, alkaline or acid, etc.?
view the full question and answer

Germination and propagation of Carolina larkspur
September 02, 2007 - I have some Delphinium carolinianum seeds and I am looking to germinate and propagate them. I threw some out on my caliche rubble Four years ago,and got one to germinate four years later. What time o...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lady Lupine (Lupinus villosus)
April 20, 2008 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, Lady Lupine grows in our yard in northeast Florida, and I would like to learn more about it, especially the stages it goes through, like now the purple petals themselves are c...
view the full question and answer

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