Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 01, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seasonal Tasks, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun. We didn't freeze and boil the seeds before we planted. Anyway, my questions are; why didn't more plants come up? And when is it safe to mow after the existing flowers have bloomed so that we will still have flowers next year?

ANSWER:

Although you may very well have already read them, let us refer you to three of our How-To Articles, How to Grow Bluebonnets , How to Grow Bluebonnets:Rhizobium FAQ's, and How to Grow Bluebonnets: Scarification FAQ's. In the last of these, particularly pay attention to the last paragraph-it's really not only not necessary but not wise to scarify bluebonnet seeds that are being sown in the wild. What you now have is a storehouse of seeds that will live there, being scarified by Nature, and will come up when the conditions are right and the seed is good and ready. It's only when you want instant blooms that you need to worry about scarifying the seeds. As to when to mow, keep an eye on the bluebonnets; they are legumes and the seeds appear in a long pod. When those pods have dried and are empty, go ahead and mow. Providing we get a little rain in Central Texas, you have both first- and second-generation seeds waiting to come up in the Spring-maybe not this Spring, but some Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Federal database on use of wildflowers
June 24, 2008 - Recently read about wedding planned to reduce typical costs AND "go green." One action the bridal party took was to decorate with wildflowers. I was appalled. So, my question, because apparently..my...
view the full question and answer

Creating a bluebonnet patch between Brenham and Houston.
April 12, 2009 - I am creating a Bluebonnet patch in a well-drained section of my flowerbed. I just planted the plants (it is now early April and I'm between Houston and Brenham, TX). I plan to let them go to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
June 03, 2013 - I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for Partial Sun in East Texas
July 11, 2016 - I need the name of wildflowers that will tolerate partial sun and perscribe burns in East Texas (Huntsville area) pine plantations.
view the full question and answer

Wildflower meadow in Mobile, AL
January 31, 2009 - I live in Mobile, Alabama. I have 1 acre of land that is partially shaded and covered with centipede yard grass. I would like to completely get rid of all the grass and replace the whole acre with wil...
view the full question and answer

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