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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Tioga, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Watering, Wildflowers
Title: Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal.

ANSWER:

Begin by reading our How-To Article on How to Grow Bluebonnets. Once an annual like Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) has put on flowers and then seeds, that plant is through. The bluebonnet is considered a winter annual, it begins to come up in January, rosettes appearing early followed by the first blooms the end of February, blooming for about 6 weeks, usually ending in April. Nature has timed this so that the seeds in the ground can take advantage of winter rains. If you were ever going to water your bluebonnets, a very dry winter would be the time to do it.

Just in order to know what we are talking about, as there are at least 7 members of the genus Lupinus native to Texas, we checked the USDA Plant Database on Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and found that it does, indeed, grow natively in or near Grayson County, up nearly on the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

Not only did your plants apparently make seeds to wait out the drought, but there are almost surely more seeds that just have not yet sprouted, perhaps having been in the ground for years. Nature has provided them with this survival technique to see them through the harsh weather for which Texas is very well known, as is the state flower.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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