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 - November 18, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Variety of colors in bluebonnet seeds from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Bluebonnet seeds I have collected are a variety of colors, from the sandy/tan color to a grayish color and black color. Are all variations viable? Are they equally viable?

ANSWER:

To be honest, not all bluebonnet seeds are viable at all. In Nature, they put out so many seeds in the Fall that, given winter rains, many, many of those seeds will come up and provide new plants, which will then seed out the next Fall. From our How-To Article on All About Bluebonnets, you will get plenty of information about viability and scarification to increase viability, but not one word about the viability of different colors of seeds. You will also notice from that article that many seeds will wait in the ground for a few years for better growng conditions. The earth protects and insulates those seeds so that a period of inhospitable weather can still be followed by new plants when conditions improve. Generally speaking, with wildflowers the word is strength in numbers. The bluebonnets take this into their own hands, so to speak, by spraying all the seeds out into the ground and leave the rest up to Nature.

If you are interested in doing your own checking on the viability of seeds, see this article from About.com on How to Test Old Seeds. In view of your specific question, you should separate the seeds out by seed color and note on the plastic bag what color each one was.

When we searched on "colors of bluebonnet seeds" all we got was colors of bluebonnets. As you can imagine, our Image Gallery has zillions of pictures of bluebonnets, but the three pictures below were about the best we could find of seeds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

When to seed a native grass lawn in a drought area?
December 15, 2011 - I want to plant a native grass lawn. It is raining now. Can I plant it in December? It might not be raining in the spring if the drought continues.
view the full question and answer

Information about growing mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora)
November 15, 2008 - I live just outside of Austin on 10 acres. I have several very large mountain laurels on my property that I planted from containers. Mine flower profusely every year. I feed them bi-weekly and wate...
view the full question and answer

Resprouting of native prairie plants after snowstorm
April 07, 2007 - Will my prairie plants that have broken dormancy be harmed by a spring snowstorm? Temperatures have fallen down into the twenties and forecast to stay sub-freezing for five or six days. We have abou...
view the full question and answer

Agarita and Mexican Buckeye not flowering or fruiting.
December 11, 2012 - The Greenbelt behind our home has a ton of agarita and Mexican buckeye, but they never bloom or berry. The pigeon berry is very happily doing both all year. Any suggestions for helping the agerita a...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center