SAN ANTONIO — Drought conditions last fall could mean this year’s bluebonnet season is a little less exciting than years past, but there is at least one place you can still find the iconic Texas flowers.
They are about as Texas as cowboy boots or barbecue brisket.
“Ireland has the shamrock, Japan has cherry blossoms, and you know, Texas has bluebonnets,” said Andrew Labay, director of horticulture for the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
The iconic Texas wildflowers have started to bloom. At the San Antonio Botanical Garden, they have begun sparsely intermingling with other plants in their wildflower meadow.
“The rains, certainly in the fall, winter into the spring, is a big factor for bluebonnets, and so we are in a drought,” Labay said. “There could be a little bit of a lighter bloom this year because of that in spots."
Labay said that fields along roads and highways, where the flowers are typically found, provide them with the perfect growing environment.
“They tend to grow in spots that… other wildflowers don’t necessarily like,” he said. “Really what they’re looking for is a full sun spot a sunny location where we have good water drainage.”
The Texas Department of Transportation seeds bluebonnets alongside Texas roadways, but that may not be enough to overcome a dry fall rainy season. Labay said that’s why the Botanical Garden has added bluebonnet transplants this year.
“In this particular garden, we did some transplanting,” he said. “And so, we’re expecting those bluebonnets will come up a little bit later than the ones that were seeded in last fall.”
Rows and rows of little leafy patches are expected to bloom into bluebonnets in the next few weeks, which The Botanical Garden hopes will provide people a substitute for those roadside landscapes, without the associated risks.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in the garden,” Labay said.