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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Need a source of sulfuric acid for scarifying bluebonnet seeds in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I see that you recommend soaking blue bonnet seeds in concentrated h2so4 to facilitate germination. Where do you suggest I buy the sulfuric acid? I live here in Austin. Thank you,

ANSWER:

 FIrst as a reminder, I'm including the warning from our "How to Grow Bluebonnets" article.

(Caution: sulfuric acid requires special handling procedures and should not be attempted without proper equipment such as gloves, masks and a ventilation hood.) 

If you have not handled sulfuric acid before, it is nasty stuff, and personally I would try some of the other techniques for scarification. The cost/benefit analysis leans away from sulfuric acid.

The Capitol Scientific Company here in Austin is one source of sulfuric acid, and Sciencelab.com is a website  where it can be purchased.

 

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