Despite Drought, Spring Flower Outlook Surprisingly Good

Texas’ record-setting drought hasn’t killed everything. Well-timed fall and winter rains should bring a beautiful wildflower season, experts at UT’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center predict.

Wildflower seeds, it turns out, are particularly resilient. The annual seeds “don’t care if it’s the worst drought in recorded history, as long as they get bouts of rain at the right time for germination and growth,” says the center’s senior director, Damon Waitt. And with recent climbing temperatures, blooms are already popping up at the Wildflower Center and around Texas.

Center officials say bluebonnet rosettes “the size of dinner plates” are already growing on their land, along with other wildflowers like Texas mountain laurel, windflower, plains fleabane, and Mexican plum trees.

Thinking about a flower-spotting road trip? There have been early sightings of wildflowers along sections of highways in North Houston and the Woodlands, areas around Dallas like Dogwood Canyon, and north San Antonio. Certain tree blooms are cropping up around Austin and Dripping Springs. Houston’s Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens and areas like Brenham will be hot spots this spring for viewing the iconic Texas bluebonnets.

Not all wildflower blooms are predicted to do as well as others this coming season. Trees and perennial blooms, Waitt says, might not have the energy to put forth blooms this year. But in general, we can look forward to a plentiful wildflower season in North, Central, and East Texas.

Austin and UT have strong historical ties to Texas wildflowers. The late Lady Bird Johnson, BJ ’34, co-founded the center in 1982 as the National Wildflower Research Center. In 2006, the center became an organized research unit of the University.

Photo courtesy the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center





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