Only in this great state will you find such an impressive number of Texas bluebonnets blanketing the countryside along highways and fields. The familiar blue flowers usher in the spring season and serve as a reminder that we Texans have much natural beauty to be proud of.
However, in order to obtain showstopping florals in your own landscape by springtime, you have to start planning now. October is the best time to sow wildflower seeds in the Coastal Bend region, as bluebonnets germinate in the fall and grow through winter. Hearty and tough as Texas, this annual native is densely arranged and will reseed to return next spring.
If you’d prefer to bask in the glory of bluebonnet patches you aren’t responsible for growing yourself, here are a few reminders to keep in mind the next time you venture out for those lovely spring photoshoots. Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to pick bluebonnets in Texas. However, it is illegal to pick, cut or destroy plant life on Texas State Park grounds. Also, picking or cutting bluebonnets denies them the opportunity to reseed and proliferate. Third, rattlesnakes love to hide in bluebonnet patches, so always keep a watchful eye when gazing at these natural beauties.
Texas bluebonnets germinate in the fall and grow through winter. They are annuals, meaning they grow from seed to flower within one year. Hand broadcasting is simple and typically works well. Avoid weedy areas, as bluebonnets do not like competition. Good seed-to-soil contact is ideal for best results, so walk over the area or use a pull-behind roller for large areas.
Water the covered area enough to give moisture for seed germination but avoid saturating the soil. If rainfall is low, water occasionally and do not mow the area. Bluebonnets mature approximately six to eight weeks after flowering. Mow the area only after the mature flower dries out and turns yellow or brown. Waiting until the flower has died allows the plants to reseed and spread for a potentially bigger show year after year.
Earning the designation of the state flower of Texas was no small feat. In 1901, the Texas Legislature was set on naming the cotton boll as the state flower. It was reported this effort failed due to aesthetics. The prickly pear cactus flower was thrown into the mix, but ultimately it was the hard work of the Texas chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America that ensured the bluebonnet would be enshrined as the pride of Texas.