The state flower of Texas, the Texas bluebonnet is a petite annual wildflower that beckons thousands of people to the countryside to view its springtime flower show. Enjoy its sky-blue beauty in your landscape by planting it in dry, rocky sites, such as along driveways and curbsides. Count on Texas bluebonnet to provide color year-after-year even though it is an annual. The plant reseeds vigorously and will ring in spring with regularity when planted in full sun and fast-draining soil.
Planting Texas Bluebonnet
Pair bluebonnet with other dryland natives such as yucca, Indian paintbrush, and prickly pear cactus. It is easier to avoid overwatering a Texas bluebonnet planting when you partner them with other low-water plants. Spread a thin layer of fine gravel mulch over the planting bed to help preserve moisture and prevent weeds.
Texas Bluebonnet Care
Texas bluebonnet grows best in full sun and dry, well-drained soil. It requires 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight per day to bloom well, and fast-draining soil is a must. Seeds or plants planted in heavy soil and clay may grow for a few weeks but never fully mature. They will turn yellow and die before they bloom due to the heavy, moist soil. Plant Texas bluebonnet in raised beds or containers if your garden soil is clay.
This spring-blooming annual is easy to grow from seed or transplants purchased at a local nursery. Plant transplants in early spring and look forward to plants blooming in April or early May. If starting from seed, sow seeds in August. Water the seeds well after planting and water seedlings a couple of times in fall to encourage strong growth. Expect Texas bluebonnets started from seed to bloom in late March or early April, depending on spring weather conditions.
Although Texas bluebonnet is an annual, it will come back year-after-year if planted in an ideal location and allowed to set seed. Several weeks after flowering, bluebonnet plants release seed. They produce a prolific amount of seeds that will lay dormant in the soil until fall when conditions are right for growth. Do not water the bluebonnet plantings in spring or summer; excessive moisture will spur seed to sprout and the resulting plant will not be able to survive the heat of summer.
New Types of Texas Bluebonnet
While most bluebonnets are blue, there are several other shades of pink, purple, and white flowers found in nature. Researchers have cultivated and crossed many of these unique selections to form new colors of Texas bluebonnets.
Plant Texas Bluebonnet With:
A yucca in bloom is a showstopper. It produces imposing spires of large, bird-attracting white flowers in summer and fall. The evergreen rosettes of stiff, sharply pointed leaves, often variegated with cream or white, are striking. Use them to punctuate the end of a walkway, mass them as a barrier, or plant them as accents throughout the border. Be careful not to site them away from paths or other places people could be scratched by their sharp leaves. Free-draining soil and sun is all yuccas require.This plant is also sometimes called Hesperoyucca.
A North American prairie native, Indian paintbrush will color a meadow or perennial garden with red-orange clusters of showy bracts in late spring or early summer. This unusual native relies on other plants for part of its nutrients. Its roots will grow until they come in contact with another plant's roots. It will then tap into the host plant¿s roots to obtain valuable nutrients. The host plant is commonly a grass plant and is not usually harmed by the relationship. Indian paintbrush is known to be slightly unpredictable -- some years the foliage will be brilliantly colored and other years it will be muted. This unpredictability is part of the plant¿s charm -- you never know what the year will bring! Indian paintbrush grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.