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

Seeding time for wildflower annuals and perennials in New York
October 27, 2006 - We have a large area of open land in front of our house and would like to dedicate part of it to wildflowers. I purchased some perenial seeds and would like to know if I can plant these this fall? T...
view the full question and answer

Flowers for sandy loam and sun in Fayette Co., Texas
May 15, 2007 - Hi I am looking to know what the best flowers are to plant in sandy loam and no shade?
view the full question and answer

Forecast for the 2103 bluebonnet season from West Columbia TX
January 30, 2013 - What is your current forecast for the 2013 TX bluebonnet season? What would be the best time for people coming from out of state to come to TX to see them? What areas are likely to have the best dis...
view the full question and answer

Castillea indivisa as Texas native Indian Paintbrush
February 05, 2007 - Upon researching the Texas Indian-Paintbrush I have satisfactorially come up with the latin name Castilleja foliolosa, funny thing is on the plants.usda.gov site it shows that this plant grows ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

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