Taking pictures of kids and grandkids in a blanketed field of bluebonnets has become a favorite annual springtime event for most families in Texas. Actually, the state flower provides a flattering background of blue for all generations – young, old and in-between. It is also the perfect backdrop for pics of our frolicking pets.
When I was a child, my mother and grandmother practiced this ritual. We usually trekked out to Mountain Creek Lake in far west Dallas and there, my two sisters and I would be sat in a field of flowers, usually adorned in frilly Easter petticoats. Most memorable to me of these occasions would be my mom scolding us when we’d reach down and innocently pick a flower or two. Heaven forbid we pick the state flower of Texas! It was thought by my family for years that it was “against the law” to pick bluebonnets, but I’ve discovered that it isn’t, and probably never was, so. This rumor was so rampant that in 2002 the Texas Department of Public Safety actually published a press release explaining there is no such law! However, be warned that if you come across the perfect picture location, you need to keep in mind it is against the law to trespass on private property. It is also against the law to cause damage to (dig up) public property. Not to worry. Last year I saw plenty of bluebonnets at nurseries and, from two very healthy plants I purchased, I have seed to share. Just send me a note with your mailing address via comment below (which I will not publish) and I’ll be happy to send some to you. This leads me to the title of my post – Now (October/November) is the time to plant bluebonnets. As with most wildflower species, fall is the time to sow bluebonnets in order to enjoy their color come spring.
Once established, bluebonnets are prolific bloomers. These above bloomed from March – June.
Although native to Texas, bluebonnets can be grown in Zones 2 – 10. They enjoy part to full sun, are drought tolerant and prefer slightly alkaline soil. Unfortunately, they can be a tad ornery when it comes to germinating. You see, their seed coat is quite hard; impenetrable until optimal growing conditions are present. Scarifying, or sanding, bluebonnet seeds assists them with germinating in flower beds that will be manually maintained (watered) and groomed (weeded). You’ll recall my favorite vine, the moonflower vine, requires its seed to be scarified for best germinating results as well. If you buy your bluebonnet seed in a commercial packet, you may find they are already scarified – just check the label. Once a bluebonnet seed successfully germinates, the plant will enjoy slow, steady growth throughout the cooler temperatures of winter; eventually setting blooms in the springtime for our picture-taking pleasure. Another bonus to growing bluebonnets in your beds is, as part of the legume family, they actually place nitrogen back into the soil. What a wonderful combination – flowers and fertilization!
Before I go on, let me say that there are times during my research of a topic that I come across a website that simply says it all and says it well. This is one of those times. To read one of the best articles I’ve found regarding bluebonnets, including better explaining the above, please follow the link below. –And afterwards, I hope you come back and take advantage of my free offer to spread a little bluebonnet seed now so you can enjoy a bit of Texas in your landscape next spring!
Until next time,