This year’s wildflower season should either be good, or really good


Wildflowers along the Round Rock West greenbelt. Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader.
Wildflowers along the Round Rock West greenbelt. Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader.

The plentiful rainfall of last year should mean a spectacular wildflower season in Central Texas.

Um — probably?

That is the basic assessment of the University of Texas’ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The soil in Central Texas is still moist from the fall rains, which is good for wildflowers. Some of which have popped up early this year to and are waiting for a little more warmth and moisture to bloom, according to the Wildflower CenteButterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) provides food and habitat for monarchs. Credit: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centerr.

But when the great spigot in the sky turned off late last year, the lack of rain — ahem — dampened the otherwise optimistic outlook about wildflowers. That February of dry, often spectacular weather spurred by the Godzilla El Niño’s siesta might have come with a downside, after all. The rain that finally fell in late February and early March should help. But it did not fall evenly across the region, so wildflowers in places that got significant rainfall should do better than those in places that didn’t.

“The trick is always the weather,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Wildflower Center.

The spring weather to come could help. Winter is over — both in the physical sense, and according to one official definition — but most forecasters say Texas is probably headed for one more damper-and-colder-than-normal spell before the Godzilla El Niño is spent and returns to the ocean from whence it came. The best thing for spring wildflowers is intermittent rains as they’re growing and prepping to bloom, according to Wildflower Center horticulturists.

And don’t worry about a cold snap. If one does blow in before El Niño bows out, DeLong-Amaya said, it probably would not damage native wildflowers already putting out buds.

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