Each year Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plants almost 30,000 wildflower seeds along Texas highways. Not only are the blankets of wildflowers lining our highways beautiful, but also reduces maintenances costs, protects our environment, and provides a habitat to native wildlife. The vibrant yellows, blues, reds, and pinks make Texas a popular spring destination and there is no wrong way to enjoy our beloved wildflowers.
Where to find wildflowers in Texas
Wildseed Farms In Fredericksburg, TX
At Wildseed Farms, you can enjoy over 200 acres of wildflower fields. From the Brewbonnet Biergarten, you can sip on a glass of wine or a cold beer while taking in the beauty of the wildflowers. You can also buy wildflower seeds to take home with you so you can have your own little piece of Texas.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson devoted her life to preserving the wildflower landscape of Texas, so it is fitting the wildflower center is named in her honor. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a great place to learn about wildflowers and the importance of native plants. The center has over 600 species of wildflowers and other native plants. They also offer classes and events throughout the year on designing and maintaining your own gardens, painting, birding, and yoga.
Hwy 29 runs through Burnet, the state’s bluebonnet capital, and the vibrant colors of bluebonnets and other wildflowers line the highway. While in the city, take a hike at Inks Lake State Park where the Pecan Flats, Devils Backbone, Spring Creek, and Woodland trails will take your breath away.
Willow City Loop
The wildflowers at Willow City Loop are a must-see for anyone visiting the area. The 13-mile stretch of road is lined with beautiful bluebonnets and other wildflowers, and you’ll also see some classic Texas scenery along the way. Be sure to stop and take some pictures!
Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
If you’re looking for a wildflower destination that takes your breath away, look no further than Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area. This spot is known for its winding dirt road that leads to a sea of bluebonnets as far as the eye can see. Not only are the flowers beautiful, but the site also smells amazing!
Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park
Many Austinites have never heard of this 40 acres of preserved prairie land that is home to many native grasses and wildflowers that provide food and shelter for native prairie land birds and insects.
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
If you’re looking for a wildflower destination in Austin, be sure to check out Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve. This community garden is home to many beautiful wildflowers, and you can also see some peacocks here whose feathers are on full display during May’s mating season. After viewing the maintained gardens, you can hike on the peaceful and often secluded trails of the 21 acre nature preserve for wild flowers and cliff-side views of the Colorado River.
Pace Bend Travis County Park
Pace Bend is the perfect place to pitch a tent, relax, and view wildflowers with a cold beverage. There aren’t many trails, but every campsite has its own private stash of wildflowers and lakeside views to enjoy.
St. Edward’s University
My alma matter, St. Edward’s University, is one of the most popular bluebonnet viewing locations in Austin. Centrally located off of South Congress, St. Edward’s boasts of bluebonnet fields on the edge of campus along Congress Ave near Fleck Hall and St. Edward’s Drive near the student housing.
When Do Wildflowers Bloom In Texas
Wildflower season in Texas is almost year-round, with some flowers blossoming in late February and others ending their season towards the end of November. Peak wildflower season is early to mid-April when the most variety of flowers are in bloom and the fields of wildflowers are at their best.
Fun Facts and Wildflower Identification
There are over 5,000 thousand types of wildflowers in Texas, but these are some flowers you will see most often. We look at these flowers as sacred now, some are illegal to pick and others it’s highly frowned upon, but unsurprisingly many of these flowers served medicinal purposes in ancient cultures.
The black eyed Susan is a pioneer plant, which means it is one of the first to grow back after fire or other natural disasters devastate an area. These Daisy-like flowers are known for their bright yellow petals and grow mid summer through late fall.
A mahogany red and yellow cone flower that gets its name from its likeness to a sombrero. Native Americans would apply the leaves topically after boiling them to treat snakebites and poison ivy. Blooms May through October.
A native Texas flower that frequently forms a solid gold blanket under Huisache bushes and blooms March through June.
Texans across the state hold festivals and dedicate fields to the infamous Texas state flower that grows for a few short weeks in April. The bluebonnet ousted the cotton boll and the prickly pear to become the state flower in 1901 after a tense debate to decide which flower represented Texas the best.
Purple Cone Flower
Native Americans used the purple cone flower for medicinal purposes and modern research shows the purple coneflower boosts the immune system and reduces anxiety. Booms April through September.
The seeds and pollen of the Texas Thistle are a popular source of food among bees, butterflies, and some songbirds. Blooms April through August.
Pink and Red Wildflowers
Indian Paint Brush
Though the green parts of the plant are toxic, the flowers are consumable in small amounts and have the same health benefits as garlic. Blooms March Through May.
Pink Evening Rose
Most species open their flowers in the evening and close them in early morning; hence the name Evening Rose, though some open their flowers in the morning and close at night. Also known as Pink Ladies and blooms February through July.
The legend is The Great Spirit was pleased with the joy an old blanket weaver brought to his town, so after his passing the spirit gifted his loved ones with a blanket of flowers in the same colors of his blankets – brown, red, and yellow. Also known as a firewheel and blooms from May through August.
The Blackfoot Daisy is a year round member of the sunflower family that smells like honey.
Ancient Chinese and African medicines used these flowers to treat breast cancer, diabetes and tumors. Blooms for 2 – 3 days after a hard rainfall throughout spring and summer.
Ancient Greek mythology used this feathering plant to treat wounds in the Trojan War. Chinese tradition believes the yarrow will bring luck in finding your true love. Grows to 3 feet tall and blooms April through September.
Quick Tips For Great Wildflower Pictures
Get Close To The Subject
Isolate a specific flower and use a macro lens to capture the details of the petals or the center of the flower
Use Bracket Exposure
Bracket exposure is a camera setting that automatically takes 3 photos at 3 different exposures in rapid succession, which yields images with a dark and moody feel, light and airy, and normal with one click. The under exposed setting can also isolate a single flower with a dark background.
Include more than just the flower
Floral photography doesn’t mean just close ups; incorporating wildflowers into a landscape shot tells story. A close up of a flower shows the details, but a landscape image that includes mountains, buildings, or a field of flowers places the viewer in the scene and showcases the beauty of the entire scene.
Visit a Small Town
Spring pictures in a field of wildflowers is one of the most popular ways to take pictures, unfortunately that comes at the cost of crowds and trampled flowers. Texas prides itself in lining the highways and fields with wildflowers so you will find quiet and unique pit stops along the back roads to small towns and state parks.
For more great tips on floral photography, visit Everything You Need To Know About Floral Photography.