AUSTIN, Texas — It was cold. Now, it’s hot.
The burning question is: How is this roller coaster weather going to affect Texas's favorite flower?
Turns out, you can start look for bluebonnets now.
The first ones are starting to pop up.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center said the rain pushed up the peak bloom a few weeks early.
Usually, bluebonnet blooms peak in early April.
This year, that could move up to late March because we had a rainy fall.
"We recommend people start planting them in the fall,” Angel Horne, the center's public relations coordinator and writer of the "bluebonnet forecast," said. “They grow through the winter...Once it starts to warm up, we have more days that are sunny, we have fewer of the gray, gloomy days, we start to see the bolting happen."
But don't expect to see big fields of the flower just yet.
When you do, you will probably see them on the side of highways because bluebonnets thrive in degraded soil with a lot of sun and little competition.
And bluebonnets fix nitrogen in the soil, so it helps other species grow in future seasons, according to Horne.
To see a lot of bluebonnets this early, you will have to drive farther.
“Unless you’re going south of San Antonio or west out toward Big Bend, where they have a different species of bluebonnet that comes out in February, then you won’t see our bluebonnets quite yet,” Horne said.
The wildflower center added the area where bluebonnets bloom depends on moisture as well.
If it is drier outside, expect to see wildflowers in ditches. If there has been a rainy pattern, the bluebonnets will creep up the hillside.
"So they are not getting rot or mold from the excess moisture," Horne said.
Bluebonnets start to taper off in later April and through May. Horne said the tapering off will likely be during normal times this year.
She said bluebonnets are not a weed per se because a weed grows where you don’t want it.
“Most people I think would say bluebonnets are not weeds,” she said. “Because most people are happy to see a bluebonnet, and if you happen to have one growing in your yard and you didn’t want it, then that would be a weed.”
The center said it is already seeing early bloomers like windflowers, Texas Red Buds and the Elbow Bush flower.
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