Contact Us Host an Event 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 Propagation Questions

Petunias pollinated by clematis from Logansport IN
July 11, 2012 - Can petunias be pollinated by clematis? I have 2 petunias that have split blooms and look like a small clematis flower. They are growing close to a jackamani clematis.
view the full question and answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Mountain Laurel seeds in Horse Shoe Bay,TX
July 09, 2012 - I have harvested Texas Mountain Laurel pods and extracted the seeds from the pods. The seeds are characteristic red/orange/maroon. When is the best time and best method to introduce seeds into pots? ...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
November 08, 2013 - I am a gardener for the city of San Francisco. I am just curious about the best way to prepare an acorn from Quercus agrifolia for planting. I have heard many ideas about using sandpaper and microwavi...
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

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