Dreaming of a blue spring?



When the hills and plains of  Texas turn blue, you know that spring has sprung. But fall is the kickoff season if you want bountiful bluebonnets in spring. You don’t need a green thumb to plant and care for bluebonnets. The state flower’s ability to survive winter freezes and then bloom and thrive in bone-dry soil makes it the perfect Texas wildflower. Here are planting and growing tips from the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas A&M University System’s Aggie Horticulture.

When to plant
Bluebonnet seeds can be planted between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15,  but for best results plant by mid-November. The flowers start blooming in some parts of the state as early as January and as late as May. Blooms last about a month.

  1. Select an area with at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight a day. Bluebonnets grow best in alkaline soils that are well drained and at least moderately rich in nutrients. In clay soil, build a raised planting bed at least 6 inches high and add 3-4 inches of organic material to the soil, such as compost, tree leaves or old hay.
  2. You’ll need 8-10 seeds per square foot, so an ounce will cover about 135 square feet.
  3. For small areas, seeds can be sown by hand or with a hand-held seed spreader. Cover seeds with no more than a quarter-inch of soil.
  4. Gently water the seeds every three days (if it doesn’t rain) for about three weeks to help them establish. Avoid fertilizer. The drought-tolerant flower is one of the toughest natives in Texas.
Post-Season Strategies
Harvest bluebonnet seeds by gathering the browned pods before they explode and scatter seeds. Air-dry seeds on newspaper or paper towels and store in a water-resistant container with a packet of silica gel if you have one.

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