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Monday - August 20, 2007

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets emerging early after cool, wet spring
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Typically I see bluebonnet seedlings begin to erupt in the early Fall. But this year, I began to see seedlings almost immediately after my crop went to seed. In fact, it is now early August and I have a few that have grown into plants a little larger than my fist (one is even setting blooms)! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Is this a result of all the rain/cooler temperatures the Austin area has had this summer? And could this out of kilter cycle have a detrimental effect on next year's crop (should I sow more seed this Fall to compensate for potential die off when the temperatures begin to hit the high 90's)?

ANSWER:

All living things, people and plants alike, are dumfounded by the weather we have had in Central Texas this year. Cool in June and July, buckets of water nearly every day and then, suddenly, summer!

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is no exception. In survival of the fittest, if all else fails, come up and make some more seeds. This confusion is not likely to damage further generations of the flowers, and it seems doubtful that so many of the seeds that ripened from your crop and dropped naturally in early summer will come up and bloom this summer that the total coming up next spring is seriously reduced. Since this is an annual flower, however, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything to sow some more seeds in the normal time in the fall. Seeds are inexpensive, and those that don't come up next spring will still be there the year after and the year after that. That is the beauty and the joy of raising native plants-they are still around because they have adapted (perhaps even grown to love) the nutty weather that Texas throws at all the natives year after year.

 

 

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