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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - August 26, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

This year's strange summer weather has lead to a very unusual event. I have a second bloom on my Bluebonnet garden. I first noticed the blooms last week, and contacted my local nursery to confirm the uniqueness of the event. I have never seen this phenomena before, and I thought I would share this newsorthy event.

ANSWER:

While the season for the flowers of bluebonnets to emerge generally occurs in late March to mid-April, there are instances of plant seed germinating and flowering out of a ""normal"" season. Bluebonnet seed have a hard outer layer, and successful germination is dependant on the degradation of the seed coat to allow water to get inside the seed, get in contact with the seed embryo, and trigger the development of the plant. A disturbance due to landscaping or construction may have been enough of an event to trigger germination of the seed. It is a good general rule of thumb to remember that, given the right conditions (for example: soil temperature, adequate moisture, and sometimes adequate exposure to sunlight), plants will respond out of their expected seasons. More info on bluebonnet horticulture may be found in our on-line Native Plant Library.

 

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Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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