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

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

Best place for picking wildflowers in Austin
February 14, 2014 - Where is the best place to find wildflowers for picking near or in Austin around the end of March?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers of my region
March 20, 2004 - How can I learn more about the native plants and wildflowers of my region?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers that will grow in sandy soil in New York
June 09, 2005 - Dear Mr. S. Pants, We live near Albany, NY in what was once a pine forest. The soil is very, very sandy. I've had some success with wildflowers but I have to use some topsoil and humus mixture to ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wildflower seeds
November 13, 2008 - I recently planted seeds for bluebonnets, winecups and pink evening primrose. The bluebonnets have germinated and are growing, but no sign of the other two. Do the winecups and pink evening primro...
view the full question and answer

Zexmenia in upstate NY
March 13, 2011 - Will zexmenia survive in upstate New York (Albany)?
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