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
3 ratings

Monday - December 20, 2010

From: Aubrey, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Rhizobium Source for Bluebonnets
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Trying to find a source for rhizobium for bluebonnets.

ANSWER:

I think it’s a corollary to Murphys Laws that the simplest questions are often the hardest!

If you search through the “Mr. Smarty Plants” archives for Bluebonnets [a topic all by itself], there are hundreds of questions with hundreds of answers!  Raising Bluebonnets has a specific “How-to” article and there is a FAQ on Rhizobium itself.

 When I went through those hundreds of questions/answers I found a Mr. Smarty Plants article that was published in the Houston Chronicle in 2008.   In it, they highlighted a previous answer that is almost exactly addressing your request. 

 Sadly, when I’m on the verge of declaring victory, all of the links and references come up dead.  :-(

 OK - backup plan – Google search revealed that there are lots of inoculants advertized for legumes of many various types and with lots of formulations and trade names, but none that I found were specifically for bluebonnets.  This gave me the names of suppliers of bluebonnet seeds and of legume inoculants though – so I just asked them.   With all of that, I have one reference that appears close => Becky at BBB Seed [Beauty Beyond Belief] found a link to the Gourmet Seed Company  that appears to offer one that may do the trick.    Note that the inoculant is based on Rhizobium leguminosarum viceae agnd phaseoli(sic) and bradyrhizobium biovar sp. [Whew]  The concern here is that most inoculants, including Rhizobium, are species-specific, which means that you cannot use any one inoculant for every legume, i.e., this one may or may not work. Still it’s the best I could find this time around.


 Question – Consider whether you really need an inoculant?    The “How-to” article on Bluebonnet states “Many soils already have naturally occurring Rhizobium, which makes finding a source of Rhizobium and applying it unnecessary. One way to determine whether Rhizobium inoculation has occurred is to look at the roots of an established plant. If there are nodules (small, rounded lumps containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria) on the roots, the bluebonnets have been inoculated by the bacteria.”    If your area around Aubrey has had bluebonnets in the past, it may well be that the Rhizobium is already present in the soil.  So an alternate option is to just give it a go!  One bit of good advice we received is: When you sow the bluebonnets, double the amount of seeds recommended for the area you are planting.  That way, when the conditions are right they will really come up!

 Lupinus texensis    Lupinus texensis    Lupinus texensis

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for non-native mimosa plants in New Orleans
July 10, 2009 - We need potted mimosa plants for an installation in New Orleans. I hope you can help me or know of anyone who could help me with that. If so please let me know how much and how fast I can get about 1...
view the full question and answer

Sources for non-native seeds from Amarillo TX
January 28, 2011 - Hello It is possible to get this kind of seeds from you?.. Thanks! : Hiptage Benghalensis (Hiptage, Helicopter Flower) Crescentia Cujete (Calabash Tree, Krabasi, Kalebas, Huingo) Macaranga Grandi...
view the full question and answer

Landscapers in Austin area
January 02, 2012 - Can you recommend 2-3 Landscapers in the Austin area that I could get to landscape my yard? or where can I get this information?
view the full question and answer

The Importance of Sourcing Local Genotypes
September 09, 2015 - I would like to respond to the answer I got to my Mr. Smarty Plants question about native cultivars vs. straight species. 1) So if I, like many gardeners, don't have access to native plants with a lo...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty identifying/finding a plant
August 21, 2010 - I have been advised that the Calandria (sic) is a good plant to cover a cement wall surrounding our home in La Quinta, CA. I cannot find such a plant on line. Can you assist? I want to entirely cov...
view the full question and answer

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