Fall drought could limit spring wildflowers

Wildflower season could be lacking in blossoms

Author: John Honore, Meteorologist, jhonore@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 20 2013 05:30:42 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2013 06:11:24 PM CDT

Wednesday was the first day of spring and you can already find lots of bluebonnets out there.

"There's seven different species out there. The one that we're familiar with -- lupinis texensis -- is the most popular one, but we're starting to see early plants coming up of Indian Blanket and a lot of gaillardias," said David Rodriguez, horticulturist for the Texas AgriLiife Extension Service.

Some Drummonds phlox and pink evening primrose have been seen, but don't expect a bumper crop just because we are getting an early start.

"The challenge we are having this spring for the spring wildflowers is the lack of essential rainfall back in the fall season," Rodriguez said.

As a result, the combination of drought-induced stress and recent warm temperatures is likely driving this early bloom.

"Plants are in reproductive mode to be able to try to push out the next generation for survival," Rodriguez said.

So an early start could signal an early end to the wildflower season, too.

"It depends on where the stand is located and how long its been naturalized out there. I would say a good four to six weeks, " Rodriguez said.

To find some of the best wildflower displays, call TxDOT wildflower hotline at 1-800-452-9292 or visit their website.