Nature

How to Plant Your Own Field of Texas Bluebonnets

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It’s satisfying to make your own little patch of land on this earth beautiful, and what’s more gorgeous than a thick sea of Texas bluebonnets? You can plant your own wildflowers in your backyard, in an unused field on your property or along the roadside in front of your home. Though the blooms spread abundantly throughout the state, they can be a bit fussy when it comes to establishing new growth. Be patient and know that it can sometimes take a several years to have a truly established bluebonnet bounty. Follow these tips for the best results.

1. Seeds

How to Plant Your Own Field of Texas Bluebonnets

Photo: Flickr/Joel Olives

Bluebonnets are annuals. They germinate in the fall, grow through the winter and bloom (as we all know and love) in the spring. Toward the end of the beloved “wildflower season,” the bluebonnets form a seedpod that eventually pops open to release seeds. You can plant your seeds between September and mid-December, but for the best results, make sure to get them in the ground by mid-November. To increase bluebonnet germination rate, which can be fickle, scarify the seeds. “Scarification means scratching or nicking the seed coats to simulate natural weathering processes,” according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website. “Once scarified, most seeds will germinate quickly and should be watered for several weeks, especially if the weather is dry.” Do not scarify your seeds if you do not plan to water them during dry periods throughout the winter.

2. Soil

How to Plant Your Own Field of Texas Bluebonnets

Photo: Flickr/Jack

Bluebonnets need full sun to grow their best. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), they also do well in soil that is alkaline, moderate in fertility and well-drained. “After seeding, it is best to cover the seed with soil no more than one-quarter inch deep,” the TXDOT website says. “This protects the seed from being eaten by birds or ‘baked’ by the sun. Water thoroughly but gently. Follow the first watering with additional light waterings every three days for about three weeks if rain is not present.” Fertilizer is not recommended. The popular recommendation is using eight to 10 seeds per square foot. It takes 20 to 30 pounds of seeds to adequately cover one acre.

3. Planting

How to Plant Your Own Field of Texas Bluebonnets

Photo: Flickr/Lara Eakins

Seed to soil contact is the key when it comes to successfully establishing bluebonnets. “Contact with the soil helps retain moisture around the seeds, which is necessary for germination, and provides a substrate for seedling growth,” TXDOT says. “Hand broadcasting is the simplest seeding method and works well. You may dilute the seeds by mixing them with sand to easily achieve even coverage. Press seeds firmly into the ground with your hands or walk over the area.” Bluebonnets do not like saturated soil, so water them lightly. After the Bluebonnets flower the following spring, their seeds will mature about six to eight weeks later. You’ll know they are mature because they will turn brown and begin to dry. Do not mow until the plants are in this stage. By mowing the mature seeds, you’ll ensure that the plants reseed for the following year, and that your dedication to your new blooms continues to pay off.