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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.

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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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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!

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Thursday - April 12, 2012

From: Smithville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Time to mow bluebonnets from Smithville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is the best time to mow the seeded Bluebonnets? I have them and Drummond Phlox in my front yard. I need to clean and trim to start pulling the large numbers of Purple Hooked Sandburr.

ANSWER:

If you want the plants to reseed themselves or to harvest the ripened seeds, the answer is: not yet. Read our article How to Grow Bluebonnets that will explain at what stage the seeds will be ready. You can harvest them or let them fall on the ground naturally, or "explode"  them out of the dried pod to several feet away. In any case, they should not be removed from the plant until the pod is dry and ready to let go. See pictures below. From that article:

"Do not mow until the plants have formed mature seedpods. Bluebonnet seeds usually mature six to eight weeks after flowering. When mature, the pods turn yellow or brown and start to dry. By mowing after the seeds have matured, you will allow the plants to reseed for next year."

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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