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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - January 09, 2007

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have had an area in my yard where I have established bluebonnets. Since we had such a dismal showing in the spring of 2006 I was looking forward to a great show for 2007. Lo and behold I had about a 9 foot square area where some seeds germinated in late spring. I tended the area carefully all summer and they started blooming in the fall ofm 2006 and are now covered with blooms and buds. Is this unusual? I'm happy but perplexed. Of course I have plants that have started this fall as is normal, so will be having a good showing this spring. I really just want to know if the ones that have been blooming since fall are unusual.

ANSWER:

It is very unusual for bluebonnets to flower in fall and early winter, though not unprecedented. Seeds of plants germinate and plants grow and flower when all of the conditions necessary for germinating and growing and flowering have been met. Occasionally, those conditions are met outside of the normal season; this happens most often in garden settings, but can occur in the wild as well. We do not know what combination of conditions were realized that resulted in your bluebonnets' flowering out of season. It is certain though, that bluebonnets flowering in the fall and winter is a treat to be enjoyed and appreciated.
 

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