En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Re-blooming bluebonnets in May in Kyle TX

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 - May 30, 2011

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Re-blooming bluebonnets in May in Kyle TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My bluebonnets in flower bed bloomed beautifully this spring. Now it is late May and they bloomed again. Why is this? I never saw these flowers bloom twice in a season.

ANSWER:

We assume you are not complaining, just trying to figure out what's going on. Full disclosure: We don't know, either, and we actually did some research trying to see if anyone else had encountered and/or explained it. In our line of business, when all else fails, blame the weather. We had about as weird a Spring as we can remember, and that has to top some pretty weird years. During the prime time of bluebonnet bloom we had some blazing hot days and then, almost suddenly, overnight temperatures near freezing in some parts of Central Texas. And, of course, the drought has rapidly gone from "about the usual" to "simply awful."

In our How-To Article Bluebonnets you learn that bluebonnets have a very tough, hard coat that protects the seed in the ground from animals and insects devouring them and allows them to lie dormant for several years without losing viability. We're guessing that, possibly because of the drought and heat, some of the bluebonnet rosettes that appeared in your garden in January did not put on bloom. No bloom, no seed. To reproduce itself is the Prime Directive of every plant, so when we had those cold snaps, a little rain and some warming up, something way down in the genetic code of those rosettes that had not bloomed, or maybe even some that had, said "It's Time!!" There is no way of tracking which plants cast seeds that in turn come up the next year or the next or..... But the plant's reproductive system has done its part to see to it that our beautiful bluebonnets are not going to be extinct.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower seeds affected by mulch in Austin
October 24, 2010 - I have a small wildflower garden in my central Austin yard. In early summer, I had some extra mulch and put it in this garden. Now I'm thinking that was a mistake. The bed has re-seeded itself for se...
view the full question and answer

Grasses and wildflowers for Central Texas
December 29, 2008 - I live between Bastrop and Paige and would like to know native grasses or types of wildflowers I can plant now. thank you
view the full question and answer

Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
May 21, 2008 - Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where the...
view the full question and answer

Stabilizing a steep slope in KY
March 31, 2011 - We are building a new home and have a very steep hill behind the home. Our highlift operator just cleared it off - I would say about 15 to 20 feet in height and at least 150 feet in length. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Locating wildflowers for school project in March
January 27, 2005 - I have been assigned a school project to collect 10 wildflowers by March. I don't see any around to collect this time of year. Do you know where I could find some? I live in San Antonio.
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