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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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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - December 18, 2011

From: Essex Junction, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets in Vermont
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hi - I visited my sister in early November and we were given a sample of bluebonnet seeds. I live in Vermont, though and did not try to plant them in the ground here, as I believe they will not survive our colder/longer winters. Can they be forced to grow indoors in a pot? Or could I try to plant them in the spring or next fall? If not, then I think I will mail the seeds back to my sister! Thanks!

ANSWER:

Send them to your sister!  Although Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is a North American native wildflower it does not naturally occur in Vermont and would not survive long outdoors there or in a pot.

There are two lupines that are native to Vermont though:

Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine) and Lupinus polyphyllus (Bigleaf lupine) which are every bit as beautiful as the Texas blubonnet but larger (not everything is bigger in Texas!)

Check out Miss Rumphius, a children's book by Barbara Cooney, the next time you are in your library or local bookstore.  It is a charming story celebrating the Bigleaf lupine that will have you scouring your nurseries and seed catalogs so you can plant them in your garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Bigleaf lupine
Lupinus polyphyllus

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