Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Lupinus texensis

The arrival of our Texas state flower, the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), is always time for celebration during the month of March.  Today I'm joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.  The extended drought across Texas means 2013 has not been the best year for bluebonnets in the fields and along state highways.  These in my back yard have been watered during dry spells to help them bloom.

Although they have been grown in Oklahoma and a few other places, they are native only to Texas and grow well across the state. According to the Native Plant Data Base there are six different varieties recognized as the state flower of Texas.

This patch has been in the backyard  for three years and we continue to expand it as seed collection allows.

We began with a handful of seeds collected from an area scheduled for road construction and commercial development.  Lupinus texensis is an annual so we harvest our seeds each spring for planting in the fall.  Before planting we scarify and soak them to get the best possible germination rate.  You can read more about the process in this post from last year.  After germination in the fall low rosettes form and remain close to the ground all winter.

The rosettes pop up just before bloom time.

The lower flowers open first with white centers and as the blooms move up the stem the centers turn to pink and then red.  This year the blooms range up to 18" tall in the beds and a bit shorter out in the yard.

The seedpods mature from the bottom upward and are velvety soft.

Intensely blue in evening light.

The top remains distinctly white and is star shaped when viewed from overhead.

They mix well with other wildflowers like this damianita

They are beginning to spread into the buffalo grass lawn along with prairie verbena which arrived here naturally from a nearby field.  The tall tufts of grass are native grama grass and the tall green plants in the foreground are Mexican Hat wildflowers waiting to bloom.

We enjoy having the space to preserve these special native wildflowers in our garden.

To enjoy more wildflowers be sure to check out the links at Clay and Limestone.


  1. Wonderful, beautiful state flower!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea's Menagerie

  2. I love bluebonnets - actually all lupines - and wish I could get them established in my garden. I tried seeds my 1st year at my current house and got paltry results but I think you've inspired me to try again next year.

  3. I love Lupines, but they attract aphids in my garden something awful. I tried to grow Texas Bluebonnets many years ago in my garden when we lived in Massachusetts. They didn't do well (D'oh!)

  4. The lupine family sure has a wide range! Your bluebonnets are beautiful!

  5. So glad to see these beauties thriving in your care despite their troubles in the wild.

  6. Happy Bluebonnet Time, Shirley. The color sure is a treat for these Connecticut eyes tired of looking at snow and mud. Enjoy!

  7. I can't believe how pretty they are. I would love to come back to Texas some day when they are all in bloom - it must be a magnificent sight.

  8. I adore lupines and have my natives growing in the meadow...but yours are lovely and delicate...such a beautiful blue flower.

  9. Beautiful! I learned a lot from your post. I didn't realize there were six varieties, or that the seed pods were so velvety. Or that the centers turned red! So nice that they are spreading out into your lawn!

  10. These are so pretty. Neither regular perennial lupins or bluebonnets seem to grow well here. I've never seen them in any gardens. I'd love to stick a bunch of these in my beds. I love how deep that blue is. :o)

  11. You have a lovely patch of blue in your back garden. I have a few out front in a new garden bed and am enjoying them too.

  12. They make me happy, thank you for sharing them on Wildflower Wednesday. One year I planted a seed mix and had one absolutely beautiful lupine....Never again though, so I really appreciate when Texas bloggers share theres.

  13. The geometric Blue Bonnet shot from above is really interesting. I have a packet of Lupines I want to sow soon, wish me luck.

  14. Thank you all so much! It was my pleasure to share these beautiful natives and our efforts to grow them in the yard. Your feedback is very much appreciated.


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