All five varieties of bluebonnet share the limelight as the state flower of Texas. A hardy annual, the plant can tolerate extended periods of drought with ease. The small plants grow up to 24 inches in height. From March to May they produce an abundance of small blue flowers that often appear to be a sea when spread across a pasture or prairie.
In 1901 the Texas Legislature, at the urging of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Texas, chose the bluebonnet to represent the state as its official flower. Unfortunately, their decision only recognized the variety Lupinus subcarnosus and many state residents felt the other varieties deserved a place as the state flower. In 1971, all bluebonnet varieties gained recognition.
The annual bluebonnet requires fall planting to produce blossoms the following spring. The germination of the bluebonnet occurs in the fall and winter. During the winter months the plant puts abundant energy into root production. When spring arrives top growth occurs.
In its native habitat only a handful of bluebonnet seeds will germinate the first season. This is a survival mechanism that helps ensure the plant's continued life if one season is more adverse then another, such as a year of drought, according to the Texas A & M University.
A process known as "scarification" is undertaken with purchased bluebonnet seeds which ensures that the seeds will germinate within only 10 days. Scarification entails scratching or nicking the outer shell of the seed to allow water to seep in and germination to occur.
The bluebonnet requires ample amounts of sunlight to flourish. Plant them in the sunniest location available to insure planting success. At least eight hours of sunlight per day is required but 10 hours is ideal. Bluebonnets thrive on soil that offers ample organic matter so mixing aged manure or peat moss into the soil prior to planting will help the plants build strong root systems.