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

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas
March 10, 2008 - What are the different kinds of plants live in the subarctic areas?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Texarkana, TX
March 31, 2011 - I've been searching for a dependable list of attractive north east native plants, for gardens, landscaping, etc. Specifically, native flowers and shrubs.
view the full question and answer

Gaura Plants Dying In PA
July 16, 2014 - I had six gaura plants. They were beautiful last year. Now I have one that is doing well and the others are dying slowly one at a time. I don't understand this. They are on a slight slope and have ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Kerrville, TX.
August 18, 2012 - We have a steep slope at the back of our property in "caleche" territory in Kerrville. It is about 80 feet wide by 40 feet and ends at a wash. It is outside of our fenced yard and we are in city lim...
view the full question and answer

Information about Turk's Cap for school project
October 19, 2012 - Hello, my name is Veronica. I am doing a Species Study on Turk's Cap at Clint Small Middle School in the Green Tech Academy. I would like to learn more on my Native Texas Species. I am contacting you...
view the full question and answer

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