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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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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

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