2023 Wildflower Forecast
Experts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center predict the 2023 wildflower season in Central Texas will be especially lush.
“I think it’s going to be an above-average spring, particularly when it comes to bluebonnets,” says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the Center’s director of horticulture. “We had good fall rain, when the seedlings were just starting to come up, and that continued through the winter.”
Even the drought most of Texas experienced last summer might prove advantageous for our state’s most iconic wildflowers.
“The drought may have caused some grasses to die back,” DeLong-Amaya explains. “That opens up soil space for bluebonnets and other spring-blooming annuals to grow.”
There are five species of “bluebonnets” native to Texas. The most common, Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), typically peaks in Central Texas in early-April, but don’t be surprised if you notice stunning displays a bit earlier this year.
According to weather maps shared by David Yeomans, KXAN meteorologist and Wildflower Center advisory council member, January and February temperatures were significantly warmer statewide in 2023 than the previous year.
“The warmer it is, the earlier things start to bloom,” says DeLong-Amaya.
This could explain why you’ve already seen bluebonnets decorating roadsides near city centers, where the hustle and bustle of daily life generates radiant heat. The Wildflower Center is relatively insulated, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer – probably until mid-March – to see large swaths of blue in our gardens. But there’s plenty to admire in the meantime.
Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora), Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) and Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) are currently in bloom, filling the Center with a sweet aroma that pleases both people and pollinators.
“Mexican plum [in particular] attracts lots of different pollinators,” says DeLong-Amaya. “It’s pretty entertaining to just stand and see what shows up. Every day there’s something new to see as the season progresses.”
For more information about the 2023 wildflower season, visit the Wildflower Center’s Texas Wildflower Central webpage.