AUSTIN (KXAN) — While Central Texas is in the midst of peak bluebonnet season, a cooler start to the spring slowed down and delayed the blooming of one of Texas’ pinnacle spring features.
But even as the Austin-area’s spring weather has certainly ramped up with temperatures climbing into the 90s this week, a predicted drier spring might wrap up the season slightly earlier, said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
“Because we had some cooler weather in the earlier part of the spring, it maybe made things a little bit slower than normal,” she said. “So the peak started a little bit later, but it’s happening now.”
How long the season lasts is dependent on continuous weather patterns, she added. This peak began roughly two weeks ago; right now, the wildflower center is predicting the season will wrap around Mother’s Day weekend, or even late April if drier conditions persist.
“If you’re lucky and get some rain and cooler weather, they’ll persist a little bit longer. But we’ll probably be wrapping it up in Central Texas maybe around Mother’s Day or a little bit earlier, maybe the end of April,” she said. “And really, it starts back in the fall. The fall is when we start getting our fall rains, generally, and that’s when the bluebonnets and other wildflowers start to germinate.”
The dependence on rain throughout the fall and winter is critical for the seedlings, she said. Ample rain in the fall will help the seeds germinate and become seedlings, while substantial rains in the winter assist in the seedlings growing in time for the spring bloom.
Bluebonnets are annual flowers. Once bloomed, they develop seeds which, once ripened, resemble pea pods.
Once matured, the seeds will split open and “fling” the seeds out, DeLong-Amaya said.
While Austin’s bluebonnets season is presumed to end within the next month, the onset and close of the season varies throughout Texas. Further south in San Antonio, bluebonnets season began, and will end, a few weeks earlier than Austin’s. North toward Dallas, the season began a few weeks later and will sustain further into May, she added.
Looking at weather maps and drought patterns from the fall and spring, DeLong-Amaya recommended the best wildflower fields will run east of Austin toward Houston, noting the Brenham area. She flagged snakes, fire ants and traffic near patches along roadways, adding parks are safer for both people and the wildflowers.
“Everybody wants to know about the bluebonnets,” she said, smiling.