En EspaÑol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - What happened to the bluebonnets?

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Liberty Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: What happened to the bluebonnets?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was wondering if you could tell me why there weren't any bluebonnets out this year? I live in the Hill Country and drive to Austin everyday. I look forward to seeing the bluebonnets up and down the highway every year. It was very sad not to see them this year. They didn't even grow in my yard, in which I have a big patch. Please let me know if there is anything to do to make sure we don't miss them again next year.

ANSWER:

Pray for rain. Or learn the Indian Rain Dance. Even move east of I-35. Sorry, we don't mean to be flip, we miss the bluebonnets as much as anyone. The problem is that in 2007, we had a very good year. The rains fell at exactly the right time in the Fall, again in the Spring, and it was a cool, moist season, which made for a long season of bloom of the wildflowers. So, we were all spoiled, and, being human, expected the same thing this year. Only this year, we had quite the opposite set of conditions, dry, hot, etc. In the Hill Country, you got even less rain than Austin, and Austin got less rain than counties east of I-35. but even they were more sparse. So, that's the bad news. The good news is that the way Texas wildflowers, including bluebonnets, survive the quirks of Texas weather is to dig in, go underground and wait. You might say we have our own Millennium Seed Bank, right under our feet. The seeds of wildflowers have tough coats, to protect the living material inside. They can hold out for years, staying viable until the magic moment when the rains come again.

We want to feel we're in control, blaming overgrazing, or over-development, or just mowing, but we're not really in control at all. Beyond watering the patch where you've had bluebonnets in the past, if it's feasible, in the Fall and again in January when the rosettes appear, there doesn't appear to be much you can do. But we're perfectly confident that the bluebonnets will bloom again.


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus subcarnosus

Lupinus havardii

Lupinus perennis

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers for wedding mid-spring in Austin, TX
November 10, 2006 - My fiancé and I are both native Texans, and we are looking to have a beautiful yet simple wedding on March 31, 2007. We would love to use TX wildflowers. Our colors are white, orange, and blue. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Horse pasture seeds from Pawling NY
April 19, 2013 - We are getting ready to seed an area to be used as horse pasture some time in the future. What seed mix should we use to create an organic horse pasture in Pawling, NY. Ideally there would be some wil...
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers and grasses for sunny field in Nashville, TN
October 09, 2005 - I want to plant wildflowers in a sunny field (old pasture land) in Nashville, Tennessee. I plan on killing the existing weeds and tall grasses with roundup this fall and planting native grasses (wha...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center