Want to spot bluebonnets and other wildflowers? Why our area is blooming with possibilities

Brittaney Wilmore Image
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Where the wildflowers are: What to know about the season and best spots to see bluebonnets
It's OK to stop and smell the flowers, especially if it's the iconic bluebonnet. We caught up with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin for what to know.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There's nothing wrong with taking a little time to stop and smell the flowers, especially if it's our iconic state flower, the bluebonnet.

"We're already having a good wildflower season. Things kicked off a little bit earlier this year because of the overly warm weather that we've been having," said Lee Clippard, executive director at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

Interestingly, the season will be even longer than normal due to the drought.

It turns out summer 2022, while hard on our air conditioners and electricity bills, was actually a good thing for our favorite wildflowers like bluebonnets.

"We did have a pretty hard drought last summer, but that may have actually been in favor of our wildflowers because it might have helped the grasses kind of die back and open space for our wildflowers to grow," Clippard told ABC13.

Normally, peak bluebonnet season is the last week of March and the first week of April.

So where are some of the best places to take in Texas wildflowers near the Gulf coast?

Let's just say the area is blooming with possibilities.

"There's a lot of places to go between Houston and Austin, and Houston and San Antonio to see wildflowers. A really great place to go is southwest of Houston in Brazos Bend State Park, really driving any of those back roads over there. Around Brenham, which isn't too, too far away from Houston, you're going to find a lot of wildflowers as well," said Clippard.

Clippard explained that there are actually five different species of bluebonnets, but spotting each one isn't that easy.

Of course, the one you see the most, is the Texas bluebonnet. It's often the one that's planted the most, particularly by TxDOT, which has a wildflower program.

TxDOT has actually been at it for a while. It started planting wildflowers on roadsides in the early 1900s.

Despite that bluebonnet, with its oceans of blues, standing out as the star we all want in our photo sessions, it's not the most distinct one.

That honor goes to the bluebonnet in west Texas around Big Bend called the Big Bend Bluebonnet.

"It's quite a bit taller and larger," Clippard said.

And while it's not illegal to pick wildflowers, experts say try not to because they are for everyone to enjoy.

Not a fan of sharing? Clippard also talked to ABC13 about what it takes to grow your own.

Hit play in the video player above to hear the full interview and make plans for your next wildflower adventure.

You can also get a head start on the best places to spot wildflowers by checking the center's Texas Wildflower Watch Instagram page. You can share your own photos by using the hashtag #TxWildflowers2023, then include the date the photo was taken as well as the location (city/county). The page will share its favorite snaps throughout the season, so you can see what's growing where in real time.

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