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LUPINUS texensis

Image of Lupinus texensis

David L. Morgan

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

LUPINUS texensis

Plant Common Name

Bluebonnet, Texas Lupine

General Description

The Texas lupine is a small bushy annual, that will sometimes survive as a short-lived perennial. The compact plant puts forth short spikes of blue and white flowers that appear in spring, when the growing conditions in Texas are most favorable. When they first open, the pea-like blooms are blue with white centers, and as they age the white centers turn purple. Insect pollinators know not to visit the older purple-centered flowers. Flowers are followed by dark, pea-like pods. Bluebonnet leaves are silvery green and divided into five pointed leaflets, which give plants a jagged look.

Though many of its large and showier lupine kin grow and bloom best in cool climates, bluebonnet is from hot and humid Texas, where it readily naturalizes in open fields. In the garden, bluebonnet prefers loose, sandy soil, requires full sun and is best grown in naturalistic plantings. When growing bluebonnet from seed, nick the hard seed coats with a file to allow the seeds within to take up water and properly germinate.

Though often called "bluebonnet" this species should be distinguished from the true state flower of Texas, Lupinus subcarnosus, or the Texas bluebonnet.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    10"-12" / 25.4cm - 30.5cm (10)

  • Width

    8"-10" / 20.3cm - 25.4cm (9)

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Blue, Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes