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

Silphium Perfoliatum Seeds
October 06, 2014 - I am trying to identify which part of the seedhead is the actual seed of the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It is hard to find images. Some show the outer, larger, flat part of the seedhead which ...
view the full question and answer

Male pollinator to produce berries on Juniperus virginiana from Amston CT
November 08, 2012 - We have planted 3 juniperus virginiana 'Glauca' (on our Connecticut property) that have a few blue berries on them. Will they need a male pollinator to make berries? We do not have other juniperus...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and germination of Pride of Barbados in Adkins, TX
April 02, 2012 - What is the root system like of the Pride of Barbados? I have a lot of new plants coming up in my beds from seeds. Can these be transplanted to a new location easily without damaging the plants? If...
view the full question and answer

Latest time to mow bluebonnets from Chappell Hill TX
February 13, 2014 - The past few years, my bluebonnets have been overwhelmed by tall grass. I could have solved this by mowing later, but I was always afraid of mowing new bluebonnet plants. When is the latest time I can...
view the full question and answer

Locating red clay for wildflower seed balls
September 26, 2007 - I am trying to locate a local source for the Powdered Red Clay spoke about in making wildflower seed balls. I live in Round Rock, Texas and have called many local nursery and no one knows what I am t...
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