Given the warm and rainy winter we’ve had this year, a booming wildflower season is in the forecast for Austin’s spring and summer. Tons of flowers have already begun to carpet the sides of our highways, but there are still even more to come. Here are a few of the most popular wildflowers that make themselves at home around Austin, and the spots to get the best views.
Wild Flowers of Austin
Bluebonnet (Lupinus Texensis) – Since 1901, the bluebonnet has been Texas’ state flower. They bloom from March through early May and are definitely a favorite among Texans all over the state. There are several different kinds of bluebonnets, so keep your eyes peeled for the many variations.
Texas Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja Indivisa) – This iconic Texas flower blooms from March through May and is often seen within bluebonnet patches or other flowers as it relies on the roots of other flowers to grow.
Verbena (Verbena spp.) – This clustered flower comes in many colors – blue, white, purple, lavender, and pink. It starts blooming in March and can keep blooming as late as October.
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera) – This dainty flower, also referred to as a buttercup, blooms April to June and can be found on roadsides, pastures, and in “disturbed” soil.
Tickseed (Coreopsis) – These bloom April through June, so you should be seeing some soon, as well as butterflies because the winged creatures are attracted to its sweet nectar.
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia Pulchella) – Not to be confused with an Indian Paintbrush, the Indian Blanket blooms from May to August. You won’t miss its fiery red pinwheel heads on the side of the road.
Places to Bask in a Colorful Show
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
With a mere $10 entry fee you can see as many wildflowers as your soul can handle. You’ll learn more about the wildflowers, as well, since this Austin landmark carries the legend of Lady Bird Johnson and mission to spread their beauty around the Lone Star State.
If you’re simply looking for a beautiful drive, check out SH 130, Capital of Texas Hwy, Highway 79 (Round Rock to Rockdale), and Highway 71 (to Bastrop or Manor). Just make sure you don’t get too entranced by the beauty and completely take your eyes off the road. It’ll be tempting.
Parks in the Greater Austin Area
Click here to check out the vast array of parks Austin has to offer where you’ll be able to throw the Frisbee, have a picnic, or just walk along the trails–all the while enjoying blankets of color. Some honorable mentions are Balcones District Park, Pace Bend Park, Brushy Creek Lake Park, and Roy G. Guerrero Park. Also, be sure to check out the gorgeous blooms on Montopolis Drive right across the street from Roy G. Guerrero Park!
Williams Drive in Georgetown
If you’re looking for a wildflower extravaganza, take an hour trek up the wildflower-filled highways and arrive at a Williams Drive, the essence of Hill Country bliss, where you’ll be surrounded by dense patches of bluebonnets and other wildflowers (and horses!). It’s a beautiful sight to behold.
McKinney Falls State Park
With a small entry fee, you can get the best that nature has to offer. You can even get a camp-site and make a trip out of it, if you’re the camping type. Hiking, mountain or road biking, geocaching, picnicking, and WILDFLOWERS will surround you if you visit this popular wildflower viewing destination.
St. Edward’s University
Come find a spot on the hilltop of St. Edward’s campus to gaze at the wildflowers. If you want a glorious sunset and the infamous Austin cityscape to compliment your Instagram pics, this is your place to go.
Strolling the Austin Neighborhoods
You might be surprised to know that some exquisite wildflower patches come out on the hill below Murchison Middle School’s track. The bus stop at 45th and Bull Creek also has been said to have a nice display of wildflowers each spring. More reason to the take the bus this time of year.