En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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
5 ratings

Wednesday - December 29, 2004

From: Corvallis, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Visiting Texas for bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I know rainfall amounts in the winter affect the blooming of bluebonnets in the spring. I am thinking about visiting Texas this spring. What should I be looking for in rainfall amounts? I will watch the national news. I am in Oregon

ANSWER:

Rainfall amounts in Texas can be quite variable. For example, the average yearly rainfall for Austin (at Camp Mabry) is 33.42. For the late fall/winter months the average is: October=3.26 inches; November=2.56; December=2.52; January=1.97; February=2.38, March=2.23; and April=3.27. You can see this data at the National Weather Service Forecast web page.

The bluebonnets for spring of 2003 were very good. The rainfall for the winter and spring of 2002/2003 were as follows: Oct. 2002=6.68; November 2002=3.04; December 2002=4.52; January 2003=1.71; February 2003=3.87, March 2003=0.54; and April 2003=0.10. In this case the rainfall for October through February were well above average but dropped below average in March and April.

The bluebonnets for spring of 2004 were good, also, but not quite as spectacular as 2003. The rainfall for the the fall/winter months of 2003/2004 were as follows: October 2003=1.03; November 2003=1.32; December 2003=0.50; January 2004=4.15; February 2004=3.73; March 2004=2.31; and April 2004=3.97.

So--for the 2003 bluebonnets the majority of the rainfall occurred from October through February and for the 2004 bluebonnets the majority of the rainfall occurred from January through March.

The rainfall so far for winter 2004 is: October 2004=4.62 and a very high record for November 2004 of 14.1 inches. So far for December 2004 we have received only 0.33, but the National Weather Service has predicted a higher than usual rainfall for the winter of 2005 for Central Texas. Since October and November had more than abundant rainfall, if January, February, and March approach at least the average rainfall, we should see a spectacular bluebonnet bloom season around the Austin area in spring 2005.

There are several places to check on the progress of the bluebonnets once blooming begins. You can look for our annual Wildflower Forecast from the Wildflower Center web page during early spring, a service providing info on travel routes for best wildflower viewing in Texas. Another resource is provided by the Texas Department of Transportation. They have a Travel Information line that provides up-to-date information of seasonal road conditions on Texas public highways. Their phone number is: 1-800-452-9292. They also support and have partnered with Lone Star Internet, Inc. with a "Wildflower Sightings" web-page, where you can view past years sightings. Additionally, another resource is provided by the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Wildflower Watch).
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on CRABGRASS
August 23, 2005 - I live in Indiana and purchased native wildflower seeds from the soil and conservation district in my area. I completly tilled the 10x70 foot patch and planted the seeds as directed. Some of them are ...
view the full question and answer

Wet adapted plants for Virginia Beach VA
June 28, 2013 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA on Lynnhaven waterway (leads into Chesapeake bay, but at my point is more brackish). I've recently removed/contained bamboo with concrete and metal barriers and now want...
view the full question and answer

Illegal to pick roadside wildflowers from Vilonia AR
May 11, 2013 - Is it illegal to pick roadside wildflowers in Arkansas?
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