AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN/KTAL/KMSS) — While it isn’t technically springtime yet, plenty of sunshine and warmer temperatures have greeted some Texans with a surprise early guest: bluebonnets.
The beloved state flower typically blooms toward late March and continues through mid-to-late April, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. However, changes in weather patterns and other environmental conditions can cause its bloom cycle to vary from season to season.
“I always like to say that bluebonnets are more a reflection of what’s happened in the past and what’s happening in the future,” said Leslie Uppinghouse, lead horticulturist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
In the case of this bluebonnet season, a wetter fall paired with a mix of warmer temperatures this winter planted the seed for an earlier bloom. As bluebonnet seeds germinate in the fall, more moisture translates to some nice, big and fluffy flowers in the early springtime.
“And then we had some nice, warm temperatures, pretty early,” Uppinghouse added. “So those warmer temperatures mixed with those cool evenings really allowed some areas to actually see some blooms a little bit early.”
While it’s an earlier bloom than traditionally seen, Uppinghouse said there’s no cause for concern. Bluebonnets are annual flowers with root systems that last one year. Because of this, they’re more sensitive to past weather patterns during the germination period, and any major weather pattern changes post-bloom.
If Central Texas continues its trend of warmer days and cooler evenings, she said it could lengthen the duration of this bluebonnet season. However, if the cooler evening spell snaps, that means we could see a quick end to bluebonnet season as Texas creeps into its higher, summer-like temperatures.
In a perfect world, cool nights combined with warmish days and a sprinkle of rain are the secret sauce behind a longer, luscious wildflower season.
“You get the best of both worlds: You get some extension of the bloom and some good seed production,” she said.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Texas Wildflower Central page outlines a host of wildflower resources for residents, including a 2023 forecast and real-time bloom reports across Texas.
For those looking to capture a glimpse of Texas’ bluebonnet beauty, Uppinghouse recommended getting outside sooner rather than later. Central Texas springs tend to come and go in the blink of an eye, she said, with bluebonnet season departing just as quickly.
“It is definitely the first couple days of spring,” she said, adding, “take the time to pause and look down and up and all around and really enjoy because it’s a beautiful time of year right now.”