Families on the lookout for things they can do during a time of mass cancellations and social distancing can enjoy something that blooms in Texas every spring: bluebonnets.
The state flower has already begun to pop up in areas of Johnson County early, thanks to warmer weather.
“We’ve had a lot of rain, we’ve had some warm weather and we’ve had a lot of sunshine recently,” Johnson County Master Gardener Ben Oefinger said. “All of that together is going to trigger them to come up.”
Gayle White of Cleburne — who has an official weather gauge from NBC DFW — has measured a total of 3.94 inches of rain so far in March.
Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, said if Texas keeps having 80-degree days, she expects more plants to surge forward and begin blooming.
“If we get continued bouts of cooler weather, the big bloom days could stay on their standard schedule,: she said.
DeLong-Amaya said she expects iconic species, including bluebonnets, to steadily continue coloring Texas leading into the heart of the season. Bluebonnets generally peak toward the end of March and early April.
Oefinger said enjoy the bluebonnets while they are here, and use caution at the end of the season.
“Let the bluebonnets bloom,” he said. “If you’ve got a patch in your yard and you have to mow, mow around them. If you mow them while they are blooming they don’t have a chance to seed and won’t come back.”
He said once they begin to look “ratty and worn,” if you look closely they will have seed packets on them.
“The seed structures will dry out and get hard,” he said. “Probably in April or May, they pop open and the seeds fall on top of the ground and roll around until they fall into a crack in the soil and set out roots.
“During the summer and fall a little plant will come up that you would never know is a bluebonnet. Then it sits there over the course of the winter and will bloom in the spring.”
Oefinger said sometimes you have to look harder for bluebonnets.
“A lot of times people will think bluebonnets stopped blooming,” he said. “But the weeds have grown high around them and you can’t see them.”