Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 07, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Planting, Wildflowers
Title: Planting bluebonnets on UT Campus in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello! I am with a student organization on the University of Texas campus. Walking around campus, I have noticed the lack of the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet. Our organization is hoping to plant bluebonnets in a couple areas around campus as a beautification project if we can get University approval. I'll be the first to admit I am no expert in wildflowers, but we think this could be a really neat project. My question is: Can you purchase already sprouted or grown bluebonnets from a nursery and replant them? I know the time to plant actual seeds is late fall/early winter and this has already passed, and we were hoping to get this started this semester. Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

ANSWER:

We agree that would be a good project for your organization to plant Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), if you can overcome the difficulty with the planting time. We are also a part of the University of Texas system, and always glad to promote the use of native plants anywhere.  We suggest you contact Janet Reed with UT landscape services - [email protected]

Our Nursery Manager, Sean Watson, says that you can possibly get bluebonnet bedding plants, small rosettes right now, at Home Depot; he didn't know of any other local nursery that sold anything but seeds for bluebonnets. We do know that there are blooming bluebonnets, in season, on sale at several places in town including grocery stores. These won't live long after planting-they are annuals, and the best you could do with plants like that is get them in the ground, harvest seeds in late Summer, and replant them in October. It's pretty expensive, per plant, to do it that way. And, because they are annuals, if they can't be left in place where you plant them to reseed themselves, they will not come back up next year. From our National Suppliers Directory, here is a list of nurseries in the Austin area that carry a lot of native plants. All have contact information so that you could find out if they have or will have the rosettes for sale this year:

Nurseries

Name Location % Native Associate
Utility Research Garden Austin, TX 25   
Landscape Mafia Austin, TX 75  Yes 
PlantEscape Gardens Austin, TX 100  Yes 
Barton Springs Nursery Austin, TX 50   
Chisos Gardens Austin, TX   Yes 
Pots & Plants Garden Center Austin, TX 50   

Now, to get back to your project, we have an excellent How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets that should help if your project becomes an ongoing one. We want to mention, in terms of your not seeing many bluebonnets on campus, there is only about a two-month window during which they will bloom, usually March and April. They need full sun, and alkaline soil. If your Landscape Department clears out the beds for subsequent plantings, those bluebonnets will not come back, but will have to be replanted every year.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Planting Questions

Want a ground cover instead of St. Augustine to fill in gaps in stone pathway.
November 19, 2012 - I'm considering using Silver Ponyfoot (instead of St. Augustine) to fill in the 6" gaps between my 24"x24" cut limestone blocks footpath and patio. Do they run long that may cover the blocks, whi...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Adjustments to soil level change around tree from Austin
May 29, 2014 - I am moving in to a new construction home in south Austin, builder has leveled the ground and sodded the front yard, I have a post oak in the front and because of the changes to the landscape the tree...
view the full question and answer

Need a good plant for Clayton, NC.
August 23, 2012 - What would be a good plant for Clayton,NC for this time of year. I would like for it to come back every year so I don't have to replant. I have several full sun areas that I need to cover in the fron...
view the full question and answer

Native Desert Willow and bunchgrass for Lubbock TX
July 29, 2013 - We live in Lubbock and have decided to try to make our front yard as native as possible. It has been a very difficult process finding native species locally (even the local Aggie nursery sells a lot ...
view the full question and answer

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