Growing Texas Bluebonnet Lupine Garden Seeds
- Taxonomy: Lupinus texensis
- Seed Type: Annual
- Sow Indoors or Outdoors: For earliest blooms begin Texas Blue Bonnet seeds 10–12 weeks prior to the frost. Lupine has a wildflower habit and may also be sown by broadcasting directly after the frost. Blend Texas Blue Bonnet seeds with sand to increase visibility during sowing and broadcast mix over a 10-square foot area and evenly rake and lightly tamp into soil.
- Days to Maturity: 91–98 days
- Hardiness Zone: 3–8
- Planting Depth: Plant 3–4 seeds ¼” deep or broadcast directly
- Plant Spacing: 12”
- Growth Habit: 8–12” shrubby upright with an 10” spread of blue and indigo floreted stalks
- Soil Preference: Average, sandy, loamy, well-drained
- Light Preference: Full sun
- Diseases/Pests/Troubleshooting: Texas Blue Bonnet lupine is known to be a little picky as a seedling, but develops into hardy summertime favorites. Lupine is native to the rugged Texas woodlands and deserts and will thrive in many similar climates prone to heat, drought, and poor and sandy soils.
- Color: Dark blue and indigo florets that age red as summer progresses
- Seeding Rate: 75 seeds per 20 square feet, 1/2 pound per 700 square feet, 1 pound per 1,400 square feet, 5 pounds per 7,000 square feet, 35 pounds per acre
Seeds Per Package:
- 1 g - Approximately 50 Seeds
- 1 oz - Approximately 1,400 Seeds
- 4 oz - Approximately 5,600 Seeds
- 1 lb - Approximately 22,400 Seeds
How to Grow Texas Bluebonnet Lupine from Seed
For earliest blooms begin Texas Blue Bonnet seeds 10–12 weeks prior to the frost. Lupine has a wildflower habit and may also be sown by broadcasting directly after the frost. Blend Texas Blue Bonnet seeds with sand to increase visibility during sowing and broadcast mix over a 10-square foot area and evenly rake and lightly tamp into soil. For traditional sowing, plant 3-4 Texas Blue Bonnet lupine seeds ¼” deep and 12” apart in average, loamy, sandy, and well-drained soil in full sun.
Plant the seeds in October & November (early October is best). Lupinus texensis are annual plants; that is, they go from seed to flower to seed in one year. They germinate in the fall and grow throughout the winter, and usually bloom around the end of March to the mid-May. Around mid-May, they form a seedpod, which is green at first but turns yellow and then brown. Sometime between the yellow and brown form of the seedpod, the seeds mature. The seedpods pop open, releasing the small, hard seeds.
Seed Scarification for Texas Bluebonnet
As noted, bluebonnet seeds have hard seed coats that often delay germination for a year of more. To increase the germination rate the first year, growers often scarify seeds. Scarification means scratching or nicking the seed coats to simulate natural weathering processes. Once scarified, most seeds will germinate quickly and should be watered for several weeks, especially if the weather is dry.
You can use the following methods to scarify seeds:
- Physically nick the seeds with a knife (for small quantities).
- Rub the seeds with sandpaper.
- Freeze the seeds overnight, then quickly pour boiling water over the seeds and soak for several hours at room temperature.
It is not recommended to scarify Bluebonnet seeds that will not be receiving water during dry periods in the winter and early spring. Scarifying stimulates all of the seeds to germinate and does not leave residual seeds for subsequent years in the event of a drought. In addition, scarification can damage some seeds. It increases the number of seeds vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and disease-causing organisms.
Scarification does increase the number of seeds that germinate, but will not guarantee a healthy, self-seeding stand of bluebonnets; many other factors influence the growth and flowering of bluebonnets once the seeds have germinated. The goal may not be to have a high rate of initial germination, but rather a productive stand of flowering Bluebonnets that reseed on their own without the need for replanting each year."
About Texas Bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis, or most popularly known as Texas Blue Bonnet, is unique and exclusive to the state of Texas. It is endemic to Texas, meaning it only grows in that specific region and, thus, why it is the official state flower of Texas. Lupinus texensis has crossed and bred naturally in wild into, what scientists have dubbed, the Maroon Alamo Fire.