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

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

Planning a park along a railroad track in Williamston, SC
May 14, 2008 - We have a railroad track in Williamston, and we are cleaning up the park. Removing trees, planting flowers,shrubs. The track is on high ground and the Fire Dept. has burnt off the weeds. What kind of...
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Mexican bush sage in USDA Zone 7
September 25, 2006 - I have a Mexican Sage (salvia). I need to know the care of it especially because it is a gift and the plant is about 5 ft. With the weather and the red clay I don't know if I could plant it or just ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seed for west central Texas acreage
June 06, 2005 - We have a ranch in central Texas between Brownwood and Brady and want to plant wildflowers that will grow in that area. We'd like to cover acreage and need information on what mix would suit our are...
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

Digging up and transplanting wild plants in Alloway NJ
July 01, 2010 - I saw some wild growing black eyed susans in a passing field so I dug some up this weekend and planted them in my garden now they look like they are dying. Do you think they will come back next year ?...
view the full question and answer

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