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Mr. Smarty Plants - Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?

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Wednesday - February 06, 2008

From: Cibolo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

New to South Texas & we decided to plant bluebonnets around our house. The seeds were planted in late spring & we were delighted to watch them start their initial growth-cycle. They ultimately produced small blooms to the astonishment of folks that grew up here. Most commented that they thought bluebonnets only bloomed in early spring. Enough background, what do we do from this point? A few hard freezes have left the plants a brownish/red. Will they bounce back this spring? Do we need to "prune" the plants? Maintaining indigenous wildflowers is all new to me & my wife.

ANSWER:

First of all, your friends are right about when bluebonnets usually bloom. Normally, a few can begin blooming as early as February, with a peak in late March and early April, and with some continuing to bloom into June. The optimal time to plant bluebonnets is in the fall so that the rosettes can emerge and begin to grow in early winter to be ready for the spring rains to provide moisture for the spring blooms. It was probably the unusually rainy spring last year in Central and South Central Texas that induced your bluebonnets to come up at all and then to bloom when they did. Bluebonnets that are planted in the fall and come up in early winter or late fall survive all but the most severe freezes as small rosettes and then are triggered by the spring rains and warmer temperatures to grow and bloom. I doubt that your plants are dead, at least not from freezing. Even though bluebonnets are annuals and usually die once they have bloomed, it is possible that with rain and warmer temperatures your strange plants will grow and bloom again—I can't not really be sure. They could even be quite spectacular since they've had a longer period to development than those bluebonnets that began their life in the fall.  Don't prune them—just leave them as they are and hope for the best. Better yet, pray for rain. We aren't going to have a very good showing of spring wildflowers this year unless we get more rain. Also, read our article, "How to Grow Bluebonnets", in our How to Articles to help you successfully grow bluebonnets for next spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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