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
1 rating

Monday - July 09, 2012

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Lookink for bulbs of German Blue Bells in Weatherford, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am searching for a plant that is called "German Blue Bells". They are tubular as seed. Like tiny iris only bands around the tubular. The flower looks like a morning glory with an off set bloom. The tube comes out and the flower off sets down. The leaves are dark green and have pointy fingers. The leaves are small to medium size.The flowers are dark vibrant purple. My grandmother gave me the tubulars and you dig them up each winter and replant them in the spring. They bloom all summer. They are a pot or yard plant - though I had little success in the yard here in Texas. I have never seen them in a nursery or catalog. My grandmother is dead and no one in the family has any tubulars left. Help Please!!!

ANSWER:

There are always problems when dealing with the common names of plants. Searching the web for German Blue Bells leads you to the species name Hyacinthoides non-scripta  which is also known as English Blue Bells. Does the picture of the plant resemble the German Blue Bells that you remember? This link   tells an interesting story about the history of the name of the plant. Although English Blue Bells are grown in the United States, they are non-natives and thus are outside our area of focus here at the Wildflower Center. This USDA distribution map  indicates that it doesn’t grow in Weatherford, TX. 
 
The term tubular when used with plants is an adjective that describes the shape of a flower, and has nothing to do with planting or propagation. You may be thinking of the term tuber which is an under ground stem that is found in potatoes. The Blue Bells have bulbs which are another type of underground stem that are planted to produce new plants.

The links below are to sites that sell bulbs for English Blue Bells.

Brent and Becky’s bulb.com

Whiteflowerfarm.com 

I hope this is the plant you are looking for.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Monarda species seed for heirloom gardens in Wales
June 15, 2012 - Hello. I am trying to obtain seeds for the following Monarda species: - barletti, lindheimeri, russeliana, and viridissima. Our address is Wales, United Kingdom and we are hoping to obtain the full c...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Should Rock Harlequin stay green all winter?
May 28, 2014 - I have a rock harlequin that came up in a area that had been disturbed. It came up last summer/fall and the foliage survived our tough winter. I can not find anything about this plant staying green al...
view the full question and answer

Source of Berlandiera pumila seeds from Coral Gables FL
June 07, 2012 - Where can I buy plants or seeds of Berlandiera pumila?
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

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