Growing Texas Bluebonnets

by Elmer Krehbiel, Master Gardener
November 28, 2003

 Many gardeners would like to plant bluebonnets in their landscape, but lack the experience to do it. If you plan to sow some wildflower seeds, I suggest that you think about how they are reseeded in nature.

Bluebonnets and maroonbonnets are cool-season annual plants that must be naturally reseeded by the mature plant each summer, or in the fall, if seeded by hand.

Bluebonnets need full sunlight and low- to medium-fertile soil with good drainage. If soil has been tilled, firm and seal the surface with water. Then scatter the small seeds on the surface and keep it moist until seeds sprout. If they are too deep, they will germinate and die.

Bluebonnet Growing Tips

  • After the flowering season, collect seed bluebonnet plants, stack, and dry them
  • Use a lawnmower to shred and bag the dried bluebonnet plants
  • Till soil several times to remove weeds, and seal the surface with water
  • Scatter seeds by hand in the fall. Do not plant seeds in the ground
  • During the growing season, keep soil moist until seeds sprout
  • Never fertilize bluebonnets or other wildflowers

For many years, Ive sown Texas bluebonnet and wildflower seeds in a front yard flowerbed. I scatter the seeds on the surface, then use a leaf rake to cover them lightly. I water them every day. If soil is kept moist, bluebonnet seeds will germinate in one or two weeks.

Young bluebonnets need moisture every week, but older plants require watering only about once a month. You should inspect leaves for stress (theyll be curled up). Cultivated bluebonnets usually develop flowers about two weeks earlier than wild bluebonnets along the roads and in pastures.

Bluebonnets need water once a month during the growing and flowering season.

During the late 1980s, as a demonstration, I set twelve Texas bluebonnet plants in our front yard flowerbed. Ever since, Ive planted seeds or set plants each year.

Dr. Elmer Krehbiel is the former President of Keep Brazos Beautiful. See his column in The Eagle.