Contact Us Host an Event 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

Thursday - April 19, 2007

From: binghamton, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I am a displaced Austinite - As of last week now living in upstate New York (Binghamton). As I was leaving town - a friend presented me with a pound bag of bluebonnet seeds. A thoughtful gift - but I am a bit of a brown thumber. I'd love to foster a crop of them in my, somewhat sunny - except for those darn tall trees:), yard. I haven't got a clue how to get them started - or when to plant them (I wouldn't think April would work - although it is supposed to snow today!). My Mom, a real big help on the matter, said that I needed to score the seeds to get them going. Is that fact or fiction, and what does that require....? Quite frankly, life was easier when I just had to hop in car and drive down MoPac. Lupine clueless in Binghamton!

ANSWER:

Hmmm...you have put Mr. Smarty Plants in a bit of a bind. Each region of the country has its own unique flora and bluebonnets are a unique part of the Central Texas flora. It is highly unlikely you would be successful growing them in New York's cold clime even if you were to sow the seed at the right time of year (which is in early Fall) and score the seed (fact not fiction).

Have you considered doing some research on plants native to your area by visiting our Native Plant Database and selecting New York from the combination search. I think you will find some excellent wildflowers native to your area like Castilleja coccinea (scarlet Indian paintbrush), Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone), Trillium erectum (red trillium), and Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium).

Here are some bluebonnet pictures to tide you over while you explore the New York wildflowers.


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Lupinus perennis Poisonous to Dogs?
April 14, 2013 - I have heard that some lupine varieties are quite poisonous to dogs, others are not. Do you know if it's safe for my dogs if I plant and encourage Lupinus perennis in my NH meadow?
view the full question and answer

Planting bluebonnets
April 20, 2008 - How long do bluebonnet seeds take to mature, and when is the earliest in their development they can be harvested? When can they be scattered?
view the full question and answer

Sunflower with large, thick, fuzzy leaves
February 03, 2005 - Hello Smarty Plants: I live in Green Mt. NC and am a Master Gardener Volunteer in Buncombe County (Asheville). In summer several years ago we visited a garden which had a beautiful sunflower with lar...
view the full question and answer

Preparation of site for wildflowers in Missouri
December 04, 2008 - I have 1/2 lb of wildflower seed I would like to plant in the next couple days. the directions say to rid site of all weeds, do you have a suggestion of how to rid my site of thistle? Sow and canadian...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

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