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Sunday - August 09, 2009

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Backyard bluebonnets in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am growing bluebonnets in my backyard in Georgetown, TX. Even with the drought, I have had blooms all summer and still have two plants blooming. Is this normal? Thanks for all the work you all do to keep Texas beautiful.

ANSWER:

Is this normal? What is normal in Texas weather and plants? Is it natural? Absolutely. We recently received a similar question from someone else in Central Texas who had planted some seeds in February and had bluebonnets blooming in July. An excerpt from that 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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