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Planting bluebonnet transplants
Q. I see bluebonnet transplants at our local nursery. Are they practical? What do you do with them?
A. Plant them in the garden or in a vacant field to serve as a seed source for future generations of bluebonnets.
In the garden, plant them with 18 inches between each plant. Bluebonnets are sensitive to overwatering. The best strategy is to water them at planting and then let them be once they are established. If caterpillars show up, spray the bluebonnets with a Bt product. The top will not do much growing in January or February, but the roots will be spreading out. In March, the top will take advantage of that root system and grow up and out to form an 18-inch-tall and 18-inch-wide plant. In late March, the blooms will appear.
Expect the blooms to last one month. For the seeds to be viable, the bluebonnet flower must fade and seed pods will form. The seed pods must fill out and then brown. Store the seeds until next October or let them lie where they fall.
Q. Our neighbor has an anaqua tree. It is attractive. Tell us about them.
A. Anaqua is a slow-growing native tree with evergreen foliage. It has small white flowers in the spring, followed by yellow sticky berries that the birds love. As you would expect, anaqua is very drought-tolerant and pest-resistant.
Q. The freeze knocked the blooms off of my snapdragons. Will they come back or should I pull them?
A. The best bloom period for snapdragons is in March and April. They often have a blooming lull in January and February. Leave them in place.
Q. Do deer eat paperwhites? I am looking for some blooming perennials to use in a deer-infested neighborhood.
A. Deer do not eat paperwhites or daffodils. All paperwhites and some daffodils will naturalize (Quail, Campernelle, Grand Primo, and Trevithian.) Iris, angelonia, four o’clocks, and thyrailis are other perennials that deer do not eat in my neighborhood.
Q. Why don’t we use fescue as a lawn grass? It does fine in Arizona, where it is hotter than here.
A. Fescue makes a permanent lawn grass in climates with hot days and cool nights. In Texas, the nights stay too warm, warmer than most desert climates. Fescue also works for a lawn grass in Oklahoma.
Q. We were inspired by our tomato crop this fall and can’t wait until time to plant a spring crop. When is that?
A. We generally put out tomato transplants after April 1 here in Central Texas. If you start your transplants by seed, plant them about Feb. 15 in the greenhouse or house.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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