Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Texas Bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lupinus (loo-PIE-nus) (Info)
Species: texensis (teck-SEN-sis) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

42 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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14 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral LazLo On Dec 18, 2014, LazLo from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Most folks aren't aware of this bit of TX bluebonnet germination info --

Only one-third of the seeds are primed to germinate the spring after sowing.
Another third are genetically programmed to germinate the 2nd spring.
And a final third will wait until the 3rd spring. This is so whether your TX bluebonnets are supposed to blossom in hues of blue, red or white. This is the characteristic of how the seed coating breaks down to allow moisture to reach the dormant embryo within.

So it's not unusual for bluebonnet seeds not to meet the expectations of some gardeners. Patience is required. Or you can be proactive!

Scarify those tiny seeds by rubbing against an emery board, then soak them in warm water for 24 hours before sowing them 1/4 inch deep in pots of seed starting media. If your preference is to direct sow the seed in the fall, no soaking will be needed. That's how to work around the genetic programming for the seed coating.

Positive Phellos On Aug 7, 2013, Phellos from Port Vincent, LA wrote:

This is a beautiful plant that does well in Louisiana if planted in well-drained soil with lime. I have never seen it self sow here.

Positive hummerlou On May 9, 2009, hummerlou from Bedias, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

My bluebonnets started from a couple of plants our grandsons gave us when we moved into our new home 4 years ago. I usually let them seed out and they just get prettier each year. However, this year I am anxious to mow them down and get my yard prettied up again. Should I mow them or pull them up and put them in my garden?

Positive heycharlie On Mar 28, 2005, heycharlie from San Jacinto County, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The Texas Bluebonnet grows wild on my property facing Hwy 59 between Cleveland & Livingston.
I have taken seeds and redistributed them.

Positive DawnRain On Mar 23, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

In my Florida garden these are a short lived annual. I get them every year from a nursery friend that I trade seeds with. I will be putting my plants in the ground in the next couple of days and they will do beautifully and be in full bloom by mid April. When May gets hot, they will be gone for another year. But for the weeks I have them, I adore them.

Positive wshall On Mar 22, 2005, wshall from El Paso, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I remember seeing these near fort hood when my father was stationed there when I was in elementary school. They would flood the roadsides between where we lived (Copperas Cove) and Fort Hood every spring with blooms.

Positive Martha_Johnson On Jul 8, 2004, Martha_Johnson from Lampasas, TX wrote:

I live an hour north of Austin, TX. The bluebonnets are beautiful here. In my pasture, however, the first year, the flower was tiny, tiny, (as Crimson noted). I blame myself because I planted waaaaay late. This year again I thought, "oh no, I have to plant more, this time following the directions", but, I guess, since I planted late, the flowers came late, plus they are bigger. Since they self sow, I can't wait to see how big and how many I'll have next year. Hang in there Crimson blessings are coming your way.

Positive windyl62 On Jul 6, 2004, windyl62 from St. Robert, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I started mine from seed and have had excellent results. I am a native of Texas, but now reside in central Missouri. I missed the bluebonnets of my childhood. I purchased seeds at my local store. I didn't follow the directions exactly on the packet, but I still received great results! Now I have a piece of my childhood growing in my Missouri home!

Positive deborahsongs On May 21, 2004, deborahsongs from Fort Worth, TX wrote:

I finally got these bluebonnets to grow this year and they are still going. Love how they looked with this firey freesia too!

Positive Paulwhwest On Apr 30, 2004, Paulwhwest from Irving (Dallas area), TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This beautiful flower comes up in early spring, blooms, seeds, and dies back to the ground. In this area at least, it self sows so consistently that it has the effect of being a perennial.

Positive jh_sanders On Apr 15, 2004, jh_sanders from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I'm a beginning gardener and was able to grow a very nice patch from seed on the first try. The seeds I purchased were labelled as "scarified for easy germination". I sowed them on top of my mulch and lightly raked them in the fall and kept it damp until they germinated. I was rewarded with my very own bluebonnet patch this spring.

Positive htop On Jan 23, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
The seeds can take up to 2 or 3 years to germinate and must be planted in September or October. I have done better with transplants. I used to kill the poor things planting them in organically rich soil, fertilizing them and providing too much water. None came up from self-seeding in my flowerbeds, but several were growing in the cracks of the street asphalt. They will grow in gravelly and/or rocky soil and do just fine. I have found that the maroon ones have fewer blooms, do not grow as tall nor wide and do not show up in the landscape as much as the blue ones. Each year I tell myself I am not going to plant the maroons and each year I do hoping that they will perform better.

Update - 4/15/07:
For the first time in my life (60 years), I have seen pink bluebonnets growing in a native environment. I found 2 plants today in a field in Northwest San Antonio. These are very rarely found occurring naturally. According to Texas A&M University, "In the wild it occurs only once in every ten million bluebonnets. And the chance of finding a pink bluebonnet, well its one in a hundred million." I hit the jackpot finding 2 plants. :o) There is an 'Abbott Pink' cultivar that has been developed through selective breeding.

I now no longer have to plant transplants of the blue blooming type. The plants come up from seeds each year (even between the cracks in my sidewalk). I still have been disappointed with the cultivars and no longer plant them.

Positive rainertx On Mar 28, 2003, rainertx wrote:

The sides highways in the area are blanketed with bluebonnets her in DFW from about the end of March into May. For years my mom tried to grow them in the yard, both from plants and from seed, with no success. Unfortunately, she was meticulous about maintaining an organic program in the yard. This resulted in a very healthy yard, but not bluebonnets! It seems to me that they do best in poor soil and when they are largely ignored when feeding and fertilizing the other plants in the yard!

Positive Wingnut On Oct 22, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Apparently our Central Texas climate is perfect for these to thrive, or is it the alkalinity of our soil? Fields so thick with blue blooms, atop plants that reach up to 18 inches, that they look like a blue quilt spotted with white are a common sight in this area ~ all without any intervention from man. Gorgeous!

In atleast half of the large stands, a plant or three can be found with white or pink blooms (dark pinky-maroon, light pink and all shades in between can be found). The "Maroon" variety was isolated from seeds found growing in San Antonio, I believe along the banks of the river near the Alamo. The legend of the "Red Blubonnet" is that they were stained red from the blood of the defenders that lost their lives there. White has also been isolated for purity and is available commercially. When growing these colors care must be taken to avoid cross pollination with blue ones growing within a mile (I believe) or eventually your stand will revert to the regular blue.

Plants sprout here in fall and go through our minimum 15 degree F winters as small, prostrate plants. It seems they need the long cold period and good rain to do well ~ when we have relatively warm and dry winters, the Blubonnets don't put on as good of a show. In early spring these perk up and take off, blooming their heads off around the beginning of April. By the end of May, when temps start climbing to 90F, they're all petered out ~ they do NOT like heat at all.

To successfully grow these in a colder climb, I would suggest winter sowing in an unheated, bright greenhouse or cold frame.

Negative Crimson On Jul 17, 2002, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

I'm very disappointed, my seed was from a retail pack and the results were 4" light pink (Was supposed to be maroon) and blue tiny plants with flowers so small it would be amazing if they could produce a single seed.

Positive clive61 On May 18, 2002, clive61 wrote:

For southern and arid climes this plant is perfect for early spring color. Does not do well in humid regions. Left undisturbed these plants will reseed and expand.

Neutral killerdaisy On Aug 8, 2001, killerdaisy from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bloom from summer through fall in cool climates and from spring until weather turns hot in warm climates. Poor to average soil. Leaf blight, leaf spot, crown rot, powdery mildew, and rust may be troublesome.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gaylesville, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Bradley, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Columbus, Indiana
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Derwood, Maryland
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Leakesville, Mississippi
Saint Robert, Missouri
Elba, New York
Thomasville, North Carolina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Arlington, Texas (2 reports)
Austin, Texas (4 reports)
Bastrop, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Bellaire, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Conroe, Texas (2 reports)
Copperas Cove, Texas
Crockett, Texas
Dallas, Texas (3 reports)
Denton, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Euless, Texas
Flint, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (3 reports)
Frisco, Texas
Granbury, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Grapevine, Texas
Hondo, Texas
Irving, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Katy, Texas
Kaufman, Texas
Kemp, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Leming, Texas
Lipan, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Malakoff, Texas
Mansfield, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
Mission, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Portland, Texas
Robert Lee, Texas
Salado, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (5 reports)
Shepherd, Texas
Snook, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Spring, Texas
Stephenville, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas
Wylie, Texas

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