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Mr. Smarty Plants - Bluebonnet blooming in July in Leander TX

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Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Bluebonnet blooming in July in Leander TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bluebonnet growing in my front yard in July! Early this year, my son planted the bluebonnet seeds. We did not expect them to grow since we planted them in February/March. One plant grew quite big and produced many bluebonnets and a second plant also produced bluebonnets. Several small plants came up and had some bluebonnets. I water the area quite regularly to keep the grass green. One bluebonnet plant is still here and now has a single bluebonnet on it - in July. I would like to know if it is very unusual for a bluebonnet plant to bloom in late July.

ANSWER:

It is unusual, but not unheard of. Bluebonnets, like other native plants, have learned to live with their environment and to survive. In order to survive, they must reproduce. In order to reproduce, they must flower in order to set seed. Your seeds were planted at just about the time the bluebonnets are beginning to bloom. Under ordinary circumstances, those seeds would have just stayed quietly in the ground, waiting for better days. They have a very hard coat which allows them to stay viable for several years, if necessary. Changing temperatures and the friction of the soil itself will eventually cause some, not all, of the seeds to sprout. For whatever reason, the little alarm clock in that seed's genetic makeup said "Time to get up!" and it did. The fact that it has been so very hot, but you have been giving the area water, may have had something to do with it. Please watch your bluebonnets and see if they set seed.

Here are the propagation instructions for Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet):

"Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by sowing seed or planting seedlings in fall.
Seed Collection: Allow the bluebonnet to reseed itself by leaving the seed pods intact on the plant until they turn from yellow to brown."

You will likely get more bluebonnets coming up there in the Spring. We will probably never know if those are from seeds dropped by your July crop, seeds planted in February, or seeds that have been transported there and have been waiting for years to grow. Some seeds are simply not viable, and never grow, but obviously you got some good ones.

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From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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