2019 Wildflower Season Starts Early in Central Texas

by | Feb 21, 2019 | Pressroom

Bluebonnets and verbena

Texas bluebonnets and prairie verbena bloom in the Savanna Meadow, taken in 2017. PHOTO Lee Clippard

After a damp and atypically mild winter without a hard freeze — not to mention a handful of unseasonably warm days in February — Central Texans can likely expect to be greeted with some early flowers this year. That includes the beloved Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis). “Bluebonnets, from what I can tell, are going to have a good year,” says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the Wildflower Center’s director of horticulture. “We’ve had a lot of moisture and it’s been warm and sunny. I’m seeing a lot of [bluebonnet] plants; as long as we don’t get bogged down in a spell of prolonged rainy weather — which can cause rot — they should do well.”

Though spring may come a bit early, DeLong-Amaya isn’t expecting a “super bloom” season: “I think the display will be pretty average for quantities — [just] starting a little early because of the warmer weather. If we get a hard freeze before April, that could set things back, but that’s not predicted right now.” An average wildflower season in Texas is still something special to behold, and an early season doesn’t necessarily mean a shorter season for bluebonnets and other wildflowers. “As long as things don’t dry out too much, the season should keep going,” says DeLong-Amaya. Though it’s difficult to predict the specifics, she speculates that the fragrant, purple-flowered Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) could have a good year: “They were pretty thin last year — and the conditions have been favorable, so we could have a good show.”

In Austin neighborhoods, where heat can radiate from roads and driveways, flowering trees such as Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana), Texas mountain laurel and Texas redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) have already launched into bloom. At the Wildflower Center, our gardens and trails are becoming dotted with sporadic early bloomers — such as golden groundsel (Packera obovata), windflowers (Anemone berlandieri) and goldeneye phlox (Phlox roemeriana) — while flowering vines native to eastern Texas (but popular in Central Texas gardens) such as coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) are beginning to burst with bright blooms on walls and trellises.

What can Central Texas residents and visitors expect to see in the next round of spring blooms? Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.), Texas star (Lindheimera texana), blue curls (Phacelia congesta), baby blue eyes (Nemophila phacelioides) and prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) should all be blooming soon on a roadside or in a field near you.

Photos for media are available upon request.

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