Rent Shop 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
1 rating

Thursday - September 23, 2010

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Should Bluebonnets Be Planted in Mulch in Spring Branch, TX
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I would like to plant bluebonnet seeds in my flower bed. The bed has a layer of shredded cedar mulch. Do I need to remove the mulch where the seeds will be planted, or will the plants grow up through the mulch?

ANSWER:

Bluebonnet seeds need to be in close contact with the soil to germinate properly. Also, they don't like to stay wet.  And a lot of wildflower seeds need light to germinate.  For all of these reasons, you need to remove the mulch where you plan to plant the bluebonnets.

Also be sure you are planting them in a well-drained area.  You have heavy clay, and, unless you have already amended your beds,you might need to add some decomposed granite to the soil and till it in Then lightly rake the soil, add the seeds and step them tightly against the ground. Be sure and water them lightly right after you plant them.  They should be fine on their own once they start growing unless we have a long dry spell.  I think that you will have more problems keeping them dry than wet enough in Spring Branch.  I think I would be inclilned to put them in their own area, with 4- 5 inches of decomposed gravel worked into the soil, unless you have already built a bed for plants that like dry conditons. Otherwise that gumbo soil is likely to drown them this winter.

Here is a useful article from our How To Articles on How to Grow Bluebonnets.

I hope your beds are ready to plant your seeds. Early October is the prime time to plant bluebonnets.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnets to bloom in September in Harlingen, TX
April 30, 2008 - How can I get bluebonnets to bloom in the first week of September? I need them for my daughter's wedding! We live in Harlingen. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
April 05, 2006 - Hello: We have been told that the sparse Bluebonnet appearance this Spring is due to sparse rainfall at the appropriate times. Were there fewer seeds to sprout and grow? Or are the seeds still ...
view the full question and answer

Source for seeds of Mexican primrose from Dallas
April 25, 2013 - Can I purchase Mexican Evening Primrose seeds now for planting in the fall or do I need to wait for the fresh crop of seeds that will be gathered from this spring flowering. How can I be assured the ...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to Lily of the Valley in Arkansas
March 08, 2011 - I saw the question from the person who was looking for a native equivalent to Lily of the Valley and immediately thought of Solomon's Seal, which has similar bells on a stalk and grows in similar loc...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
November 29, 2004 - We would like to know if the bluebonnet wildflowers are suitable for New Orleans and, if so, which months should they be seeded. Otherwise what can you suggest for our humid climate. We like blue, lav...
view the full question and answer

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