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

Monday - August 19, 2013

From: Denver, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Greenhouse bluebonnets for July wedding from Denver CO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would it possible for my daughter's florist to get bluebonnets for her late July wedding? Are they propagated in greenhouses?

ANSWER:

We assume you are referring to Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) which, while this USDA Plant Profile Map shows it growing in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida, really only grows profusely in Central Texas and is done blooming by mid-April. There are 55 species of Lupinus, 9 of which are native to Colorado, 3 are blue and bloom in July. These are:

Lupinus caudatus (Tailcup lupine) - This USDA Plant Profile does not show this growing naturally in Arapaho County, but certainly in nearby counties.

Lupinus sericeus (Silky lupine) - USDA Plant Profile Map, still not in Arapaho County,.

Lupinus wyethii (Wyeth's lupine) - USDA Plant Profile Map had no information county locations

If you look at the pictures below, the first row are the Colorado natives listed above. The second row are Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet). You are right, they probably wouldn't fool anyone. So, let's go back to Square One, do greenhouses grow bluebonnets? You would be asking a greenhouse proprietor to make artificial Texas Spring weather, bring in alkaline soils and add a whole lot of sunlight, or artificial same, basically forcing the flowers to bloom at the wrong time, in the wrong dirt and the wrong climate. Once, during a focus group on exhibits for our newly refurbished Visitor's Gallery, our Nursery Manager was asked if he could provide blooming bluebonnets year round? He visibly flinched, said it would be barely feasible, given enough time, money and personnel.

From our How-To articles, here is an article on How to Grow Bluebonnets. Then, translate that into greenhouse conditons, from providing the right soil to having blooms on a specific day. The greenhouse would have to be temperature and humidity controlled for the specific requirements of the bluebonnet. Most wedding florists have flowers flown in fresh for specific occasions, and most are flown in still in bud and from foreign countries. That is expensive, but we would bet not as expensive as going the route we have described. Sorry.

 

From the Image Gallery


Tailcup lupine
Lupinus caudatus

Silky lupine
Lupinus sericeus

Wyeth's lupine
Lupinus wyethii

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 13, 2007 - I want to go to the Willow loop north 7 miles or so of Fredericksburg to see the bluebonnets in bloom this year but don't know when the best time would be to see this spectacular view. I plan to be ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seed balls
November 13, 2007 - On one of the HGTV garden shows Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was featured. It showed how you could make little dirt balls filled with wild flower seeds and throw them around your land making i...
view the full question and answer

School wildflower, native plant garden
October 23, 2007 - I am helping my daughter's third grade class plant a very small (about 5 ft. square) wildflower/native plant bed that is in full sun. I'm interested in flowering plants that bloom in the very early...
view the full question and answer

Fourth-grade research on Texas Wildflowers from Dallas, TX
January 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, Hello, I am a fourth grade teacher and my students are about to begin a project on Texas Wildflowers. Some of the information they will require is the scientific name of the plant...
view the full question and answer

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