Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bluebonnets for Bloom Day March 2016

We have Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) blooming in the garden this week.  Bluebonnets reseed prolifically and we also collect the seeds each year for fall planting just to be sure they turn up where we want them.

With their bonnets of blue they are a welcomed sign of Spring and our Texas state flower.


Except they're not always blue as in this rare white bloom.  While non-blue blooms are the exception the hue can range from white to pink, deep purple and even burgundy red.


Two white blooms emerged from one plant.  If white flowers are pollinated from nearby blues chances are the seeds will produce blue blooms next year.  With at least two white blooms there's a small chance we can have more white ones next year.


To up the odds on getting white flowers next year we tried cross-pollinating the white blooms with a Q-tip.  Just an experiment, but we had to give it a shot.


Look closely and the lower flowers have slight blue tint.  On the right you can see centers of the blue flowers turn red as they age allowing pollinators to find the freshest flowers by their white centers.  On the left, one early bloomer is already producing seeds.


In March it's all about the wildflowers and Texas Bluebonnets are my favorite so I'm linking with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day at May Dreams Garden, so be sure to check out what other garden bloggers are sharing.

13 comments:

  1. I love experiments! I await reports next year to see what happens.

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    1. We'll definitely do an update!

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  2. I had one last year. I never thought of flowing some self pollination. It never did set any seed do it was disappointing. I hope you have better luck with your experiment.

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    1. It looks like we won't get any seeds from these either. Just had to try though.

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  3. After 2-3 seasons of buying and planting both maroon and white bluebonnet plants from a local nursery, we now have 2-3 smallish white blooming plants that seem set to self reseed. I'll be more convinced if they come back again next year... The maroon flowering plants do seem to come back as a very light pink to white, which was what I'd read would happen if they did reseed.

    Looking forward to hearing back on your experiment. Science!!

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  4. I never tire of looking at the bluebonnets year after year. Will be interesting to see the results of the q-tip experiment! Happy GBBD!

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  5. Very nice! Ours are starting to bloom but we haven't had a flush of them quite yet. Hopefully in the next week or two. we're heading to the Hill Country for Easter and I'm hoping to get some nice shots of wildflowers when we're that direction!

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  6. only now do I realise, that Texas bluebonnet is a lupin.

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  7. You can't beat the prettiness of your Texas bluebonnets. I tried planting seed again this year but there's no sign whatsoever of the plants. Perhaps our soil isn't hospitable.

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  8. What a superb state flower! Even though they're tender, I might give them a whirl next year and see how they go. I love plants which change colour with pollination. So clever!

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  9. Lovely wildflower, the equivalent in being iconic of a state to our California poppy. A beautiful blue flower is rare enough that I think I prefer the blue version.

    We have a native lupine as well, but it's more elusive, a pioneer species preferring road cuts.

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  10. Interesting experiment – and beautiful flowers. I have tried hand pollinating too, I have a summer flowering hellebore that graces me with flowers every summer, but so far never any seed. Last year I tried pollinating with a Q-tip, but still no seed…..I hope you are luckier!

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  11. Every time I see the Bluebonnet, I thin of Lady Bird Johnston and her quest to nurture them and so many other flowers. Glad to visit today after being away for so long. JC

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