Texas A&M AgriLife horticulturists have developed a new, deep blue variety of bluebonnet.
The Lady Bird Johnson Royal Blue bluebonnet has such dark blue flowers that it was almost named "Cobalt." It was discovered by accident in a field of red bluebonnets.
“We were trying to isolate reds out from maroon bluebonnets, and we were getting these really dark blues coming up in the red fields," said Dr. Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, Uvalde. "So we saved the seed of the really dark blues and isolated those until the line would come back 99-plus percent true.”
The Lady Bird Johnson bluebonnet is part of the Texas Superstar line, a program that highlights plants that grow well in Texas climates and perform well for Texas growers and consumers. They're also required to be easy to propagate, ensuring the plants will be readily available and reasonably priced.
Stein says the Lady Bird Johnson bluebonnet traces its ancestry to a hardy winter annual native to Texas, and produces as much as 40 percent more seed than traditional roadside bluebonnets. Stein also says the new variety sets more blooms than a traditional bluebonnet.
Both seeds and transplants of the Lady Bird Johnson bluebonnet should be available at nurseries and home improvement stores this fall. Participating retailers can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/retailers/.