En Español

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

Thursday - April 25, 2013

From: Worcester, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Wildflowers
Title: Souce for Houstonia caerulea in Massachusetts
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for bluet (Houstonia caerulea or H. serpyllifolia). I can't find them anywhere. The two sites listed under possible distributors under H. caerulea have not gotten back to me. I read that bluets are on the endangered species list on the USDA site. If this is true, is there an effort to cultivate seeds? I would very much like bluets for my yard here in Massachusetts but can't find them anywhere. I hope you can help me.

ANSWER:

The wonderful little bluet (Houstonia caerulea) that is native to the eastern part of North America will take some patience to obtain. The demand for this beloved plant has overcome the availability. You may need to plan to order seed or reserve plants well in advance (or as soon as it becomes available) to get some for next season.

By the way, the Delaware Nature Society have a few plants of H. caerulea available for sale at their upcoming plant sale this year.

Gardensnorth.com did have seeds but they have sold out for this year. Perhaps they can let you know when more seed will be available.

Another option is to join the North American Rock Garden Society. They offer donated seed to their members early in the year and did have Houstonia caerulea on the (now closed) 2012-2013 list.

As far as the plant's conservation status, The New England Wildflower Society have a very informative webpage for Houstonia caerulea and indicate on their Distribution and Conservation page that it is “present” in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The USDA list several Houstonia as threatened and endangered, but not H. caerulea. The ones that are threatened and endangered are H. serpyllifolia (thymeleaf bluet) native to the Southeast, H. purpurea (Venus’ pride) also in the Southeast, and H. longifolia (longleaf summer bluet) from the central part of North America. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

More Wildflowers Questions

Blooms as far as the eye can see
March 06, 2008 - Why are some wildflowers capable of putting on spectacular sweeps of blooms "for as far as the eye can see" such as Indian paintbrush at Vail Pass in Colorado, or bluebonnets in the Texas hill count...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Planting bluebonnets on UT Campus in Austin
January 07, 2012 - Hello! I am with a student organization on the University of Texas campus. Walking around campus, I have noticed the lack of the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet. Our organization is hoping ...
view the full question and answer

Large-scale wildflower maintenance
June 14, 2008 - We purchased the Texas/Oklahoma wildseed mix from your shop last year and planted them this past fall. The wildflowers came up beautifully, but at the beginning of June, after flowering just one time...
view the full question and answer

Date for visitor from England to see bluebonnets
February 04, 2010 - Hi there I live in England, and I'm planning a trip to Texas to photograph the wildflowers around Austin and the hill country. I especially want to photograph bluebonnets. I can be in Texas either...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center