Bluebonnets the Texas State Flower ( Lupinus texensis )

Blue Bonnets

Bluebonnets bloom down here from early April to early May. The last of them are fading for the year as I write this entry.

Bluebonnets became the Texas state flower in 1901. There are six varieties of Lupinus native to Texas and commonly called bluebonnet.

Seeds should be planted in September-October. When this years plants have dried out, shake the flowers over the ground to spread the seeds about for next year’s crop. If you purchase seeds, read your seed packet carefully to see if seeds are ready for planting or need to be treated. Untreated seeds need to be soaked over night or have boiling water poured over them after you plant them. The seed shells are quite tough and need to be weakened so the plant can escape come spring.

Bluebonnets are annuals but they will often reseed for next year.

Bluebonnets want full sun and will thrive in any soil. They are drought tolerant.

Texas Sapphire ( blue) and Texas Ice (white) ( Lupinus havardii ) are the blue and white blue bonnets commonly found in bouquets.  Texas Ice began as four wild plants that had white flowers.  Scientists were only able to collect five seeds from these plants.  They were planted, and grown and regrown to obtain the white blue bonnets we grow today.

Common problems for blue bonnets:

Root rot in wet springs, powdery mildew, and the flower thrip ( Frankliniella occidentalis Pergrande)

An interesting thing to look for next time you see bluebonnets is the color of the center of the flower.  When the flower has not been pollinated the center is white, after pollination the center turns red as a signal to let the bees know to head for the unpollinated, nectar carrying flowers.

This color change ability is what allowed breeders to create red bluebonnets.