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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - April 24, 2013

From: bluff dale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Planted bluebonnets won't prosper in Bluff Dale, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have planted bluebonnet seed several years (this last year we planted inoculated seed) always the same results -germination, growth to 4-6 leaf stage, then very pale stunted growth, bronzing. soil tests indicate nothing toxic (I have an ag degree and 26 yrs as a landscape designer/contractor-this is the entry to my ranch) other wildflowers usually do well in same location- no neighbors w/bluebonnets thanks

ANSWER:

It must be frustrating for a person with an ag degree not to be able to grow bluebonnets in Erath County. Two of the five species that are designated as the State Flower of Texas: Lupinus subcarnosus Lupinus subcarnosus (Sandyland bluebonnet) and Lupinus texensis Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet). L. texensis is the one that is commonly planted along the state highways by TxDot and local garden clubs. If it is any consolation, USDA distribution maps indicate that neither L  subcarnosus nor L. texensis grow natively in Erath County.

I am going to suggest that you read the article entitled  All About Bluebonnets  on our How to Article Page for tips on growing bluebonnets. This article from aggie-horticulture  also has some interesting information.

We frequently get questions from people who have problems getting their bluebonnets to germinate. Your problem has to do with something in the environment affecting the growth of the young seedlings; perhaps nutrient deficiency, watering problems,or  soil pH too high or low.

There are numerous websites that deal with diagnosing mineral deficiencies in plants, and I have chosen three that may be helpful to you with your bluebonnet problem

plantphysiology.net

University of Missouri 

Oklahoma State University 

I find it interesting that your neighbors also don’t have bluebonnets. The folks at the Erath County office of AgriLife Extension  might be able to explain that.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sandyland bluebonnet
Lupinus subcarnosus

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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