Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support 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 Seasonal Tasks Questions

Seasonal tasks for Big Red Sage and Tall Aster in Marble Falls TX
January 09, 2012 - I transplanted some Big Red Sage and Tall Aster into my raised bed garden in early summer this year. They've sent up lots of rosettes. Do I need to protect them from freezing in winter? Do I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Late emergence of passiflora incarnata hybrid in Austin
April 11, 2010 - Two years ago I planted in my clay soil garden a variation on native passiflora incarnata; the passiflora Elizabeth (a cross between passiflora incarnata and passiflora phoenicia)because I hoped it pr...
view the full question and answer

When should I remove the stakes from Oak trees planted last november in Kyle, TX?
August 18, 2010 - I live in Kyle TX. I have new construction of oak trees that are about 10 feet tall and are staked. How long should they stay staked? They were put in the ground about Thanksgiving 2009. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Trimming native salvias in January
January 17, 2008 - I have heard you can trim Hot Lips, Raspberry and other salvias back severely in January, to about six inches from the ground. Is this correct?
view the full question and answer

Spring care for Garrya ovata from Pflugerville, TX
February 24, 2014 - Hello again, Mr. S-P, I planted a Mexican silktassel in April 2012 (purchased at the WFC). It has done well, but the leaves are bronzed and splotchy from this winter's freezes. All the stems are...
view the full question and answer

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