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Rains reign over prolific, prolonged wildflower season

Central Texas is in the second act of its annual wildflower display, which is stealing the show with a burst of yellow, red, orange, and white. Displays like this line RR 1431 from Marble Falls through Granite Shoals and Kingsland and into Buchanan Dam. The display will be longer than usual this year thanks to recent rains, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

They’re bigger, they’re better, they’re brighter than ever, and while Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center experts won’t call it a super bloom (that’s reserved for drier states like California and Arizona), the 2023 season’s burst of yellow, red, and orange wildflowers across the Texas Hill Country is a singular sensation.

“We are having a very good year,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the wildflower center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. in Austin. “Perhaps four stars out of five, depending on where you are.”

If you are in the Highland Lakes of Burnet and Llano counties, you’ll find an amazing display of golden tickseed, Engelmann daisies, horsemint, brown-eyed Susans, prickly poppies, mealy blue sage, and, towering over it all, pristine white yucca, the Hill Country's biggest wildflower.

Golden tickseed, also known as golden wave, covers a field in Marble Falls. Staff photo by Jennifer Greenwell

For those planning road trips during the early part of the summer, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has some special advice.

“Enjoy it!” DeLong-Amaya said. “We don’t often have so much to see this time of the year. By the end of May, we generally start flower shutdown with hot and dry weather.”

The reason for the prolonged season is, of course, the rain but also the timing of the showers.

“With the ample and well-spaced rains we’ve received over the last few months, the wildflowers are happy!” DeLong-Amaya said. “The later spring-blooming annuals had good moisture to germinate, and we’ve continued to receive enough to sustain them.”

Yuccas don’t need as much water to survive, but they've also responded well to the extra moisture this spring.

“The blooms we’re seeing are a result of that,” DeLong-Amaya continued.

Assuming normal rainfall from this point on, the 2023 late spring season is expected to continue a bit longer than usual, possibly into summer. Look for a splurge of Texas bluebells, Texas lantana, scarlet sage, rock rose pavonia, and common sunflower.

For more information on the wildflowers mentioned, advice on great road trips to take through the Highland Lakes, and photos galore, visit the Wildflower Guide at

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