En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Variety of colors in bluebonnet seeds from Houston

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 Propagation Questions

How does Graptopetalum filiferum produce seeds?
June 22, 2009 - Hi I have a Graptopetalum filiferum. I found a seed on top of one of the plants and it resembles something like a cantelope melon seed-about 1/3" long, orange. Do these succulents produce seeds i...
view the full question and answer

Growing Big Red Sage from Seed in San Antonio
November 04, 2010 - I harvested some seed this year from my Big Red Salvia (Salvia penstemonoides). I have searched multiple sites looking for information on growing this wonderful salvia but cannot locate any informati...
view the full question and answer

Grooming and propagation of Bee Balm
August 28, 2007 - I planted our first Bee Balm [Mornarda didyma] bush a month ago. I`ve watered it daily and it is growing well with many runners apparent. Should I be deheading or pinching regularly? Should I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Hackberry tree in San Antonio.
September 23, 2010 - Our old hackberry tree fell over last year. Now we have dozens of new ones popping up in the same area. We want to transplant a few to another area of the yard, but they aren't surviving. It appears ...
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