En EspaŅol

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

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

Plants for under live oak in Houston
July 09, 2011 - Hi, We have a live oak in our back garden in Houston and would like to plant a combination of some native shrubs and flowers near it (preferably perennial). The garden bed is about 4 metres from the...
view the full question and answer

Drought stressed wooly butterflybush in Atlanta, TX
September 24, 2011 - My butterfly bush is dead looking from the drought. Do you think there is a chance it just went dormant and will return next year. I am still putting water on it. I believe it is a white wooly butterf...
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Pollinator garden for Belen NM
May 16, 2012 - Trying to set up a flower garden to attract bees and butterflies. Can you tell me what would be best to grow. I live in Belen, NM.
view the full question and answer

Riverbank Plants for Minnesota
September 04, 2013 - I would like to stablize a steep riverbank slope along the Upper Mississippi in St. Cloud MN. The slopes are almost 1:1. We are using an open cell concrete matt in which we are going to plant native...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center