SAN ANTONIO – After February’s winter weather decimated many plants, many people are wondering if it will affect the wildflower season in Texas.
If you’re holding your breath, we won’t keep you in suspense -- the answer is, we should have plenty of bluebonnets this year. They may just bloom a little later in the spring.
Experts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center say bluebonnets can handle the cold.
“Our Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and many other native wildflowers are adapted to cold temperatures,” Director of Horticulture Andrea DeLong-Amay was quoted on the center’s website. “And the 6 to 8 inches of snow the area received acted as a blanket to protect them against the many days of freezing temperatures.”
DeLong-Amay said that because we had warm weather until the February freeze, bluebonnets may have bloomed earlier this year. But because of the cold, they’re more on track to start blooming in March and peak in early to mid-April.
Bluebonnets usually start blooming first along I-10 between San Antonio and Houston and then move north to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to botanist Jason Singhurst with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“The native range is primarily the Hill Country and Blackland Prairie Ecoregions of Texas, although citizens of Texas have seeded it well beyond,” Singhurst said.
The Texas Department of Transportation buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year. The flowers are planted along Texas highways to beautify the roadways and because, along with native grasses, they “help to conserve water, control erosion and provide a habitat for wildlife in all the natural regions of Texas,” according to TxDOT’s website.
“If it keeps raining and temperatures stay in mid-80′s or below through April, it should be a great Texas bluebonnet spring,” Singhurst said.
But there is some disappointing news for flower lovers. While the flowers may still bloom on the ground, we may not see as many beautiful blooms on our native flowering trees this spring. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, some redbuds, Texas mountain laurel and native plums may not bloom this year because of the February freeze.