Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 Non-Natives Questions

Dying non-native red tip photinias in Lexington NC
June 27, 2009 - Large Red Tip bushes, what can I do to keep them alive? I have a few and they are dying. What can I do to save them?
view the full question and answer

Should non-native Royal Empress tree be planted in Lawrence MA?
May 13, 2010 - I am researching the Royal Empress Tree because I want to plant one in my yard in Massachusetts. I wanted to know if the Royal Empress will have rapid reproduction and bring more Empress trees to the ...
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate roadside thistles
May 26, 2015 - When we drive along the highway we see lots of wildflowers and no thistles in the median. How does the Highway Department keep the thistles out? Here in Kerrville, we are overwhelmed by thistles thi...
view the full question and answer

Freeze problems with non-native weeping willow in Joplin, MO
May 13, 2010 - My weeping willow had leaves forming and a frost hit and now the tree looks like it is dead. Everything else is in bloom and I don't know if the frost killed my tree or if I need to wait to see if it...
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

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