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
1 rating

Thursday - November 17, 2011

From: Mason City, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Wildflowers
Title: Overwintering Texas bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted Texas Bluebonnet and I want to know how to save them through the winter months. I think they are so beautiful. Can I cover them with something?

ANSWER:

If your bluebonnet is Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), it is an annual and its plants will die during the winter.  If you allowed it to drop its seeds, it could possibly grow again from them for next spring, although it is out of its natural range (see the distribution map from USDA Plants Database).  In Texas the tiny rosettes of the spring plants have already appeared from the seeds deposited in spring and summer.  They will overwinter and begin to grow taller after the warm spring rains and produce flowers in late March through the month of May.  The Texas bluebonnet grows as far north as Oklahoma where the USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and 7.  Since Mason City is in Zone 5a, the seeds may or may not germinate there.  If you grew your bluebonnets from seeds for this year, then it may work.  They should be in the ground by now, however.   Here is a a How to Article, How to Grow Bluebonnets, that gives more details.

As an alternative to the Texas bluebonnet, there is a beautiful lupine, Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine), that is native to Illinois.  It is a perennial and blooms in May and June.  You can check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries in Illinois that specialize in native plants that might carry seeds for the sundial lupine.  In a quick check I found that Wilson Seed Farms, Inc. in Tiskilwa, Illinois has seeds for sale. 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

More Wildflowers Questions

Garden planning for wedding in Tallahassee
July 18, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would love your advice on creating a Wildflower Garden Plan. Earlier this spring in Tallahassee (North Florida). I sowed Wildflowers for the first time to see what would blo...
view the full question and answer

Laws concerning picking wildflowers in Pennsylvania
May 20, 2008 - What is the law (in Pennsylvania or Federal law) that makes it illegal to pick wildflowers and/or other native plants?
view the full question and answer

Name of the yellow wildflowers that gave Amarillo, TX its name
March 01, 2016 - What is the name of the yellow wildflowers that gave Amarillo, Texas, its name?
view the full question and answer

Are there drug cartels on the bluebonnet trails from Lake City FL
February 08, 2012 - We plan to fly to TX to see bluebonnets but do not know if the weather and forest fires have destroyed them. If not, can you estimate the peak bloom time? We are 75 and 81 and move around rather s...
view the full question and answer

Viewing of Texas native wildflowers
February 04, 2008 - Can you provide a general listing of when various Texas native wildflowers are in bloom? Also helpful would be a list of areas where these wildflowers could be photographed in their native growing ar...
view the full question and answer

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