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

Sunday - April 12, 2009

From: Waller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Creating a bluebonnet patch between Brenham and Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

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 and hope to have beautiful blooms every year from now on! My question is this: What, if anything, should I do with that portion of the flowerbed?

ANSWER:

There are several ways to approach this situation. The first is to do nothing; let the bluebonnets bloom and  release their seed and then wait until fall when the seed start to germinate. Since you are a gardener, doing nothing is probably not your thing. So you can add a light coat of mulch or compost to the bed after the seed have been released that will help retain soil moisture and help with germination later on. In either case, you will need to be vigilant to keep out the things you don't want in your flower bed, and be on the look out for those little bluebonnet rosettes when they appear. The third alternative is more interesting and entertaining: put summer annuals in the bed.

Go to our Recommended Species page  and select Central Texas on the map. Click on NARROW YOUR SEARCH, and make the following selections: select Texas under state, herb under Habit, Annual under Duration, Sun under Light Requirement, and check May June July under Bloom time. Click on the Narrow you Search button and you will get a list of thirteen plants to choose from for your flower bed. You can alter the list by changing the selected items.

Mr. Smarty Plants chose four plants from the list.

Indian Blanket  Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Phlox Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Prairie Verbena  Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Blood Sage Salvia coccinea (blood sage)


Gaillardia pulchella

Phlox drummondii

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
December 23, 2013 - We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abund...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lady Lupine (Lupinus villosus)
April 20, 2008 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, Lady Lupine grows in our yard in northeast Florida, and I would like to learn more about it, especially the stages it goes through, like now the purple petals themselves are c...
view the full question and answer

Golden groundsel plants or seeds for Bulverde TX
October 02, 2011 - Where can I find golden groundsel, plants or seeds?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Santaquin UT
August 11, 2009 - I have a hill in my backyard; it is about 40 ft tall and about 80 ft wide. It is probably a 1.5 to 1 slope ratio. I am going to be landscaping my back yard and have top soil put on the hill as well. S...
view the full question and answer

Finding a source of Straggler daisy
October 14, 2015 - I've decided on Straggler daisy but am having trouble finding it. It would be perfect for me. Do I have to wait until next Spring for it to show up? Can it be ordered through a nursery or a landscape...
view the full question and answer

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