Record rainfall in most of North Texas last fall definitely bodes well for our bluebonnet forecast. In fact, we can already see their basal rosettes (with Texas star-shaped leaflets) growing in dense patches all over the Metroplex.
We’ve had ample well-timed rainfall this winter as well, assuring that moisture is not likely to limit their growth (if it keeps up).
Now we just need some sunny, warmer spring days over the next month to help them send those dense blue flower spikes up!
In fact, there are already pictures of bluebonnets blooming in South Texas on social media.
"Bluebonnets, from what I can tell, are going to have a good year," said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. "We've had a lot of moisture and it's been warm and sunny. I'm seeing a lot of [bluebonnet] plants; as long as we don't get bogged down in a spell of prolonged rainy weather — which can cause rot — they should do well," added DeLong-Amaya.
But ample rainfall and temperature aren’t the only factors that effect wildflower blooming cycles. Frequent mowing on roadsides and or grazing by cattle in fields can also be a deterrent. So can the aggressive roadside weed, "bastard cabbage," which is starting to out compete many of our favorite native Texas wildflowers in some areas.
Overall, I think we can probably assume that this spring is going to be an above average to excellent year for wildflowers in our area.
I love bluebonnets as much as the next Texan and am excited about the possibility for a bumper crop. But folks should also check out the other amazing native wildflowers like firewheel (Gaillardia), monarda, paintbrushes and coreopsis that grow in the same general vicinity as our state wildflower.