Posing pets and kids amidst the bluebonnet blooms is a Texas tradition as old as the hills. We’ve put together a guide to help you find the best wildflower patches.
HOUSTON — HOUSTON — Texas bluebonnet season is here, which means it’s time to plan your road trip and map out the best Insta-worthy spots to pose for selfies or snap the prettiest pics of kids and pets.
From country hillsides to city sidewalks, wildflowers put on a colorful show across Texas every spring.
There are over 5,000 types of flowering plants native to Texas, according to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. The star of the show is the Texas bluebonnets that blanket fields across the Lone Star State.
Here’s what you need to know before you hit the road.
When is wildflower season in Texas?
Wildflower season is typically late February through October, but the best months to see them are usually March, April and May, according to wildflower.org/texas.
Bluebonnets — or lupinis texensis if you want to impress your friends — normally peak between late March and mid-April, according to wildflower.org.
Other early bloomers include the fiery Indian paintbrush, the cheerful golden groundsel and the dainty purple spidorwort.
The intensity of wildflower season each year depends on how much rain we get in fall and winter. Since most of Texas is dealing with drought conditions, the 2022 blooms won’t be spectacular, but they’ll still be pretty
“I’m expecting a nice display of wildflowers in Central Texas,” the Wildflower Center’s Andrea DeLong-Amaya said. “Due to less rain this past fall and winter, the displays will likely be average, but average is still beautiful.”
Experts predict a comeback for some of the plants hardest hit by the bitter freeze in 2021.
“I’m excited for the mountain laurels,” DeLong-Amaya says. “They were completely fried by the winter storm last February. I’ve noticed a good crop of flower buds coming on, and I’m optimistic they’ll have a lot of pent-up energy and really get going in March. Maybe we’ll appreciate them more because we didn’t see them last year.”
Where to find wildflowers in and around Houston
If you don’t want to venture too far, you can see pretty patches of wildflowers in and around Houston.
Here are a few top spots:
- Memorial Park – 6501 Memorial Drive, Houston
- McGovern Centennial Garden – 1500 Hermann Drive, Houston
- Terry Hershey Park – 15200 Memorial Drive, Houston
- Rob Fleming Park – 6055 Creekside Forest Drive, Spring
- Mercer Botanic Gardens – 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble
Fort Bend County flowers
The Wildflower Center says Brazos Bend State Park in Needville is home to an amazing variety of wildflowers. Along with bluebonnets, you might spot Texas spider lilies, floating bladderworts, basket flowers, black-eyed Susans, morning glory vines and wild indigos.
Brazoria County bluebonnets
The road less traveled to soak in the beauty of bluebonnets and other native flowers is a 70-mile loop in Brazoria County, southwest of Houston.
At Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll find sea oxeye daisy, tropical sage, coreopsis, yellow thistle and spider lily, as well as sedges, rushes and cattails.
At the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, look for sea oxeye daisy along with irises and water lilies and the state champion live oak tree.
Directions: From Houston, take TX 288 south to FM 1462. Go right (west). At Damon, head south on to Texas 36 through West Columbia to FM 2004. Rejoin Texas 288 near Lake Jackson. Google Map it
Wildflower road trips
If you want to find fields blanketed with bluebonnets, you’ll need to hit the road.
The staff at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center teamed up with Texas Highways and Texas Monthly magazines to recommend some routes.
Brenham Bluebonnet Loop
You’ll see some of this area’s most impressive wildflowers by heading northwest on 290 toward Brenham, about 75 miles from Houston. It’s a popular route dating back decades for southeast Texans in search of their annual flower fix.
Once you get to Brenham, travel the Bluebonnet Loop for 80 miles through Washington County. You’ll pass through Burton, Independence, Washington and Chappell Hill before heading back to Brenham.
“Expect fields full of bluebonnets, plus coneflower, prairie verbena, beardtongue, coral bean, skullcaps, prairie parsley, Indian paintbrush, blue-eyed grass, rattlesnake flower, blanket flower and rosinweed,” the Wildlife Center says.
- From Brenham, northeast on TX 105
- Turn right onto FM 1155 south to Chappell Hill
- Turn right on US 290, take Austin exit to stay on 290 for 14 miles
- Head toward FM 1697 in Burton before turning right onto FM 390
- At Old Baylor Park in Independence, turn right on FM 50
- Go back to TX 105 and Brenham
According to Google Maps, this trip will take you about 90 minutes not counting stops.
Wildflower Capital of Texas
If you have time for a day trip, head southwest to DeWitt County, dubbed the Wildflower Capital of Texas by the state legislature in 1999.
This area is home to more than 1,000 different kinds of wildflowers according to the Wildflower Center.
You can stop by the Cuero Chamber of Commerce for a map of trails and brochure to help you identify the flowers.
There are a few options heading out I-10 depending on what small towns you want to pass through.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
If you’re in the Austin area during wildflower season, make time to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
It was founded by the former first lady and Helen Hayes as the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982. It was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1997.
The center eventually evolved into a botanic garden and University of Texas research unit that focuses on plant conservation, landscape restoration and sustainable landscape design.
It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but you’ll need a reservation.
- Adults $12
- Seniors 65+ $10
- Military with ID $10
- Youth ages 5-17 $6
- Children 4 and under are free
You can also track the best wildflower spots and share your photos on Texas Wildflower Watch.
Is it illegal to pick bluebonnets?
There is no law that says you can’t pick bluebonnets or other wildflowers on pubic property, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
That doesn’t apply to private property and it’s against the rules to pick, cut or destroy any wildflower or plant life on the grounds of a Texas State Park.
- Beware of snakes and fire ants when walking through the wildflowers.
- Don’t park on the highway
- Park parallel to the road and in the direction of traffic
- Don’t cross lanes of traffic on foot to get to the flowers