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 Seeds and Seeding Questions

How to get rid of plants spreading fluffy seeds
July 27, 2008 - I live in Blaine, MN next to a Lake. The "buffer zones" next to the lake are filled with native grasses, weeds & wildflowers. We are trying to identify a plant that blooms July with lavender flowe...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on seed harvesting
August 09, 2004 - I am interested in learning more about harvesting native seeds. I manage a number of sites where restoration projects will involve planting, and we would like to use native seed stocks. Could you te...
view the full question and answer

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
May 12, 2005 - My bluebonnet plants have seed pods (I guess they are, they look like pods of snap peas). Can I collect these or do I just leave them alone and hope they multiply? If I can collect them, what is the ...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013 - We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
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